Gloucester County School Board v. G.G.

To book an interview, click on the "Book an Interview" button on any page at ADFmedia.org.
Friday, January 13, 2017

Description:  The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia sued the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia over its policy that protects students’ privacy and safety by reserving restrooms and locker rooms for members of the same biological sex, while providing an alternative private facility for students uncomfortable using a facility that corresponds with their sex. The ACLU asserted inaccurately 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. Title IX specifically authorizes schools to have single-sex restrooms and locker rooms.


ADF to Supreme Court: Uphold policy to protect privacy in restrooms

ADF files friend-of-the-court-brief asking for reversal of 4th Circuit’s 2-1 decision against student privacy
Friday, January 13, 2017

 

Attorney sound bites:  Gary McCaleb | David Cortman

WASHINGTON – Alliance Defending Freedom filed a friend-of-the-court brief Tuesday with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the student privacy policy of a Virginia school district. The Gloucester County School District policy protects students’ privacy and safety by maintaining separate restrooms for members of each sex while providing individual, private facilities for students uncomfortable with using a facility that corresponds to their sex.

A federal district court had 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,” but a three-judge 4th Circuit panel nonetheless rejected that ruling, with one judge strongly dissenting, in April of last year. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed in October to take up the case. The ADF brief joins numerous others filed with the high court in favor of the school district’s policy.

“Schools have a duty to respect and protect the privacy and safety of all students. Other courts—including the 4th Circuit itself—have previously upheld that standard, and we trust the Supreme Court will, too,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb. “Girls should never be forced share intimate facilities with boys. This obviously violates their right to privacy and harms their dignity. The school board enacted a policy consistent with that understanding and with decades of court decisions establishing that no law grants opposite-sex persons access to single-sex facilities, where the interest in privacy is obviously strongest and bodily exposure is so common. Our brief encourages the Supreme Court to reverse the 4th Circuit’s ruling because it is out of step with the law and previous federal court precedent.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia sued the school district over the policy in June 2015 and 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. The U.S. departments of Education and Justice have also furthered this erroneous argument, and ADF has filed lawsuits in Illinois, Ohio, and Minnesota against DOE and DOJ over their misinterpretation of the law, their lack of authority to change the law’s meaning, and the bullying tactics they are using to enforce their political will.

“Title IX does just the opposite of what the ACLU claims,” explained ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. “Title IX’s regulations specifically authorize schools to have separate restrooms and locker rooms for boys and girls. The policy accommodates students who aren’t comfortable using facilities designated for their biological sex, but it does so without neglecting the established right of children to bodily privacy and safety.”

As the ADF friend-of-the-court briefs explains, “those resisting the [DOE] federal mandate are defending a bodily privacy right that impacts all students, and protecting bodily privacy is squarely within the purpose of Title IX and 34 C.F.R. §106.33 [the federal regulations accompanying Title IX]. But the interest claimed by transgender students is solely a demand that the government affirm their subjectively perceived sex, an interest which is not only divorced from the plain text of Title IX and its regulations, but…eliminates the ability of schools to protect bodily privacy under the authority of 34 C.F.R. §106.33. Because the self-perception affirmation interest advanced by transgender students and their advocates is so far outside of the plain text purpose of Title IX, the Petitioner [Gloucester County School Board] is on sound ground arguing that the federal mandate violates Title IX, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the Spending Clause, and merits no judicial deference.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
 
# # # | Ref. 52217

Friend-of-the-court briefs filed with U.S. Supreme Court


Additional resources: Gloucester County School Board v. G.G.

Scroll down to view additional resources pertaining to this case and its surrounding issue.
Friday, January 13, 2017

Previous news releases:

  • 2016-10-28: US Supreme Court agrees to hear student privacy case
  • 2016-09-28: 8,900+ students, parents to Supreme Court: Uphold policy to protect privacy in restrooms
  • 2016-08-03: US Supreme Court grants Va. school district’s request to protect student privacy for now
  • 2016-05-12: 50 Virginia students, parents, others to 4th Circuit: Uphold policy to protect privacy in restrooms
  • 2016-04-19: 4th Circuit rules Va. school district can’t enforce policy that protects students’ privacy in restrooms, locker rooms
  • 2015-12-02: ADF supports policy to protect student privacy in restrooms, locker rooms

Commentary:

  • Matt Sharp: Supreme Court enters legal battle over gender identity and the purpose of restrooms (Daily Signal, 2016-10-30)

Legal documents, related news, and other related resources available in the right panel when this page is viewed at ADFmedia.org.