Students and Parents for Privacy v. Township High School District No. 211

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Description:  Township High School District 211 in Palatine, Illinois, disregarded student privacy and safety when it secretly opened its schools’ restrooms to the opposite sex and then opened the girls’ locker room to a boy after the U.S. Department of Education under the Obama administration threatened the district’s federal funding. The agency based its threat on its inaccurate interpretation of Title IX, a 1972 federal law whose accompanying regulations, contrary to the agency’s opinion, actually authorize schools to retain single-sex restrooms and locker rooms.  Read more >>


Federal court allows students’ Title IX claims to go forward

ADF attorneys continue to represent numerous families concerned about male student in girls’ locker rooms
Friday, March 29, 2019

 
CHICAGO – A federal court Friday allowed to proceed an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit that defends the privacy of students at an Illinois school district. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled that parents may pursue their Title IX and religious freedom claims against Township High School District No. 211 policies that authorize opposite-sex use of students’ locker rooms, restrooms, and showers.

“We need a compassionate approach to protecting students’ privacy, and we welcome the court’s decision to allow key claims to move forward,” said ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb. “The district officially authorizes opposite-sex use of school privacy facilities, and that violates Title IX. Letting boys into girls’ showers, restrooms, and locker rooms is sexual harassment. Students should be confident that their school will protect their privacy and dignity. So far, this school district has failed to do so.”

The district opened its schools’ restrooms to the opposite sex—without informing parents—and then opened the girls’ locker room to a boy after the Obama administration’s Department of Education threatened the district’s federal funding. Under the Trump administration, the agency rescinded the Obama administration’s attempt to rewrite federal law and restored the understanding that, under Title IX, “sex” means male or female and not one’s beliefs about their gender.

That 1972 federal law prohibits schools from discriminating “on the basis of sex,” which for more than 40 years has meant being male or female. Title IX’s existing regulations specifically state that a school receiving federal funds can “provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex” without putting that funding at risk.

ADF attorneys represent the privacy association composed of many students and parents in the lawsuit, Students and Parents for Privacy v. Township High School District No. 211, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

ADF attorneys are also representing students and their parents in another student privacy case in Pennsylvania, Doe v. Boyertown Area School District. In November, ADF petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled that the students’ privacy didn’t merit protection.

As the petition to the Supreme Court in the case explains, “It is untenable that the Third Circuit made students’ right to bodily privacy contingent on what others believe about their own gender.” The brief continues, “Recognizing this reality does not diminish the concern for students who believe they are of the opposite sex. Schools can (and should) teach that every student has inherent dignity and worth and should be treated as such. Schools can (and should) assure students with gender dysphoria that they are valuable and important members of the school community. And school officials can (and should) provide them with resources and support. Despite such alternatives, Boyertown chose to violate the privacy rights of all other students.”
 
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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Additional resources: Students and Parents for Privacy v. Township High School District No. 211

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Previous news releases:

  • 2017-12-29: Illinois families considering appeal after court declines to protect student privacy
  • 2017-06-20: Federal agencies dropped from student privacy lawsuits
  • 2017-02-22: Trump takes important first step to protect privacy and dignity of students across America
  • 2016-10-18: Illinois families: Court should reject magistrate’s recommendation to ignore student privacy
  • 2016-08-12: 51 Illinois families make their case to halt invasion of student privacy, federal overreach
  • 2016-05-25: Federal overreach jeopardizes students’ privacy
  • 2016-05-04: 51 families sue feds, Chicago-area school district for violating student privacy
  • 2016-05-03: 50 Palatine-area families to announce lawsuit against US DOE, school district
  • 2015-10-20: Illinois school district on solid ground to respect children’s privacy

Commentary:
  • Jeremy Tedesco: The difference between privacy rights in abortion and same-sex locker rooms cases (Daily Signal, 2016-07-21)
  • Matt Sharp: ACLU misses mark on student privacy...by ignoring it (Chicago Tribune, 2016-05-25)
  • Matt Sharp: No, federal law does not require entities to allow men into women’s restrooms (CNS News, 2016-04-26)
  • Matt Sharp: Girls sharing showers with boys at public schools (CNS News, 2015-12-15)

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