Ohio school district violates children’s privacy by opening restrooms to opposite sex

Letter explains that federal law allows schools to maintain separate restrooms, locker rooms for boys, girls
Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Attorney sound bite:  Matt Sharp

TROY, Ohio – Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Tuesday to the Troy City School District Board of Education 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, as the letter notes, 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 Troy City School District and recently also provided to a school district in Missouri. All of the ADF 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 Troy City 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 recommended policy.

“Schools have a duty to protect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students,” said parent Bryan Kemper, whose children attend school in the district. “The long-standing tradition of having distinct facilities for boys and girls at school is in the best interest of students. Advocacy organizations trying to pressure schools to do otherwise are disregarding common sense and jeopardizing the physical and emotional well-being of the most vulnerable members of society.”

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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