Court rejects ACLU demand to disregard student privacy

Illinois judge says Palatine school district’s duty to respect privacy rights can’t be ignored
Thursday, January 25, 2018

 
CHICAGO – An Illinois trial court Thursday rejected the demand of the American Civil Liberties Union to ignore the privacy rights of thousands of Illinois students. The court refused to issue an order that would have allowed a biologically male student to change clothes alongside female students in the girls’ locker room at Palatine’s Township High School District 211.

“Schools must protect the privacy rights and dignity of every child,” said ADF Legal Counsel Kellie Fiedorek. “The court rightfully understood this obligation and therefore declined to issue an order that would have further eroded student privacy at Township High School District 211. The ACLU’s claim that the Illinois Human Rights Act requires locker rooms to be shared is baseless. That law specifically allows facilities like locker rooms to be reserved for girls, whose desire for privacy is both important and understandable, particularly in the post-Weinstein era.”

Alliance Defending Freedom and Thomas More Society attorneys represent Students and Parents for Privacy, an association of concerned students and parents that successfully intervened in the ACLU’s lawsuit to defend student privacy rights. The families wish to prevent the ACLU from misusing non-discrimination provisions within the Illinois Human Rights Act to dismantle student privacy at the district. The association filed its own lawsuit in 2016 to protect student privacy at the district, which is now the target of the ACLU’s suit.

“Schools should never be forced to give male students unrestricted access to areas where girls are changing clothes. Claiming a female gender identity doesn’t change that,” added Thomas More Society Chief Counsel Thomas Brejcha, lead counsel in the case together with Thomas More Co-Executive Director Thomas Olp. ADF attorneys are co-counsel.

The court denied the ACLU’s motion for preliminary injunction at a hearing Thursday in the case, Maday v. Township High School District 211. No written opinion is currently available.

The student that the ACLU represents continues to have access to the girls’ locker room; the school district only requires him to change clothes behind a curtain.
 
  • Pronunciation guide: Fiedorek (Fih-DOHR’-eck), Brejcha (BREH’-kuh)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
 
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