Missouri school’s decision to open restrooms to the opposite sex jeopardizes students’ privacy

Letter explains that no law requires letting members of the opposite sex into public school restrooms
Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Attorney sound bite:  Matt Sharp   

HILLSBORO, Mo. – Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to the Hillsboro R-3 School District Board of Education Monday that asks it to reverse a recent decision by district staff to allow students to use locker rooms and restrooms of the opposite sex. The letter provides a suggested policy that addresses the school district’s concerns about discrimination without allowing the sharing of restrooms.
The ADF letter explains that no law requires public schools to allow boys into girls’ restrooms or girls into boys’ restrooms. In fact, the district could be exposing itself to legal liability for violating students’ right to bodily privacy.
“Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to the opposite sex is not only perfectly legal, it’s a school district’s duty,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “Letting boys into girls’ locker rooms and restrooms is an invasion of privacy and a threat to student safety.”
In August 2014, ADF sent public school districts nationwide a similar letter that it has now provided to Hillsboro R-3 School District. Both letters cite pertinent legal precedent, including court rulings that support the ability of public schools to limit restrooms to members of the same sex for privacy and safety reasons without violating Title IX, a federal law concerning sex discrimination in public school programs and activities.
“Allowing students to use opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms would seriously endanger students’ privacy and safety, undermine parental authority, violate religious students’ free exercise rights, and severely impair an environment conducive to learning…,” the ADF letter to Hillsboro R-3 School District explains. “ADF’s policy allows your District to accommodate students with unique privacy needs, including transgender students, while also protecting other students’ privacy and free exercise rights, and parents’ right to educate their children.”
The ADF letter also offers the school district free legal assistance if anyone files a lawsuit against the policy.
“Instead of protecting children, the school district is needlessly creating an environment that invites violations of student privacy,” added ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “The first duty of school district officials is to protect the children who attend school. The ADF model policy demonstrates that schools can accommodate the desires of a small number of students without compromising the rights of other children and their parents.”
  • Pronunciation guide: Tedesco (Tuh-DESS’-koh)

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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