The ACLU steps in to support transgender student Issak Wolfe

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A transgender senior at Red Lion Area School District in Pennsylvania was supported by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in his fight for equality after the school had discriminated against him.

Issak Wolfe was initially denied access to run for prom king is now facing another uphill battle.

 “We got involved after Issak was placed on the wrong side of the prom court–[on the queen’s list],” Pennsylvania’s ACLU Staff Attorney Molly Tack-Hooper told 429Magazine.

Tack-Hooper also explained that Wolfes’ girlfriend, Taylor, created a petition on change.org in advocacy of her boyfriend. In response, the school “had threatened to not permit his girlfriend to attend prom.”

With the help of the ACLU Taylor was permitted to attend the prom and the couple reported having a great night. 

With graduation a few weeks away, he has also requested to wear a black cap and gown, (the designated graduation uniform for men) rather than the yellow cap and gown delegated for women. Additionally, Wolfe asked his school to call him to stage on graduation day by his chosen name, Issak. 

On April 25, the ACLU wrote a letter requesting that transgender students have the same freedoms and equal access as all other students at the Pennsylvania school. 

Specifically they asked for Wolfe to be allowed to wear a black cap and gown and to be called to stage by his preferred name. They have also called on the school to broaden their policy in regards to transgender students rights and to allow future prom court nominees to run under their specified gender identity. 

Wolfe wasn’t only concerned with his own issues, he wanted to “protect the future of transgender students in the school” and wishes that the school undergo sensitivity trainings reported Tack-Hooper.  

The Red Lion school has granted Wolfe the right wear the male delegated graduation uniform , but has denied Wolfe and the ACLU all other requests. 

Wolfe’s family, friends, and most teachers call Wolfe by his preferred name, Issak. Wolfe, who is legally an adult has plans to change his name as soon as possible. However, the process requires a court hearing which will not occur in time for graduation. Regardless, his school has chosen to disrespect his wish to graduate under his preferred name. 

“There is absolutely no legitimate reason for the school to refuse to read Issak’s male name at graduation,” Executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Reggie Shuford said in the press release.

 “Their failure to do so shows the same lack of sensitivity they exhibited during Issak’s attempt to run for prom king and knowingly marks what should be a happy occasion for Issak and his family,” Shuford said. 

429Magazine

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