ADF supports policy to protect student privacy in restrooms, locker rooms

Files friend-of-the-court-brief on behalf of parents, students, community members
Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Attorney sound bites:  Matt Sharp | Jeremy Tedesco

RICHMOND, Va. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit on behalf of The Family Foundation of Virginia and concerned parents, students, and community members who support the Gloucester County School Board’s restroom policy. That policy reserves restrooms and changing areas for members of the same biological sex while providing an alternative private facility for students struggling with sexual identity issues.

A federal district court ruled in favor of the school district in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, finding that its policy “seeks to protect an interest in bodily privacy that the Fourth Circuit has recognized as a constitutional right.”

“Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to the opposite sex is not only perfectly legal, it’s necessary to protect student privacy and safety,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “The school district’s policy is on solid legal ground because Title IX specifically authorizes schools to have separate restrooms and locker rooms for boys and girls.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia sued the school district over the policy in June and erroneously asserted that the school board violated Title IX, a federal law, and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause when the district declined to allow a female student to use the boys’ restrooms.

Last year, ADF sent public school districts nationwide a letter citing 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. Most recently, ADF sent a similar letter to the Nebraska School Activities Association and all school districts within that state.

“The Gloucester School District policy demonstrates that schools can accommodate the desires of a small number of students without compromising the rights of other children and their parents,” added ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Any privacy and safety policy should respect all children because every child matters. No policy should be tailored to a few students at the expense of all the others.”
  • 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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