The parents of a transgender daughter are suing their California private school for treating their 8-year-old like a boy.

Screenshot/KABC-TV/Manny Rivera

The Orange County Register reported the lawsuit claims Heritage Oak Private School represents itself as nondiscriminatory, but the parents say the school made their daughter use the boy’s bathroom and wear the boy’s uniform:

The lawsuit says the school denied their daughter’s appeals to wear a girls’ uniform and rejected her requests to be called by the appropriate name and pronouns. The school also insisted that she use a staff restroom instead of the girls’ restroom and failed to address bullying in the classroom, according to the lawsuit.

The Register reported that the student’s mom, Priya Shah, "who taught college courses in gender and transgender theory,” said her daughter, now called Nicolle or Nikki (pictured next to her mom in the above photo), “preferred pink outfits and rainbow ponies” and liked to wear her high heels:

Just before her seventh birthday, she told her mother that she was a girl and had felt like a girl for a “long time,” according to the suit. Her parents supported her and found a therapist who specialized in gender identity for children.

The Register reports that the child’s therapist encouraged the parents to let Nikki wear girls clothes because the child was happier that way.

The school spokeswoman told the newspaper that it provided accommodations for Nikki as it does for older students, such as using a staff bathroom, but Shah and her husband, Jaspret Brar, say they didn’t go far enough:

The lawsuit says the school denied their daughter’s appeals to wear a girls’ uniform and rejected her requests to be called by the appropriate name and pronouns. The school also insisted that she use a staff restroom instead of the girls’ restroom and failed to address bullying in the classroom, according to the lawsuit.

Nikki’s dad told the newspaper:

“We couldn’t stand to watch Nikki’s hopes and dreams be crushed because a group of adults didn’t accept her for who she is."

An attorney for the family said Kathryn Eidmann of the public interest law group Public Counsel told KABC-TV that since the school is a for-profit, non-religious school, it’s subject to non-discrimination laws:

“That means it’s a business institution and is treated like any other business institution in California. And California does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, religion or gender identity by any business institution.”

The school opened over half a century ago and is run by Nobel Learning Communities.

Screenshot/KABC-TV

Nobel Learning's spokeswoman said they were seeking expert help to accommodate the child, make the parents happy, and prepare the child’s schoolmates, but that Shah and Brar took Nikki out before they could agree on a path forward.

The parents claim they took the child out of school because “she ripped a picture of herself in half and cried out, 'I hate myself.'” They homeschooled the child for the rest of the year.

KABC-TV reports that the couple wants to make sure that the school has a written transgender non-discrimination policy and that lessons on transgender identity are added into the school curriculum in addition to unspecified monetary damages.

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