Federal overreach jeopardizes students’ privacy

ADF requests injunction to protect physical privacy in high school locker rooms
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

 
PALATINE, Ill. – Alliance Defending Freedom filed a motion requesting a preliminary injunction in the case Students and Parents for Privacy v. United States Department of Education. In this matter, ADF sued the Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and Township High School District 211 on behalf of 50 families in the Chicago area.

The lawsuit challenges the DOE’s and DOJ’s unprecedented and unlawful mandate that public schools—under threat of losing their Title IX funding—allow students to use the restrooms corresponding to their self-affirmed gender identity, not their biological sex. It also challenges District 211’s implementation, to the detriment of its students, of that mandate.

The motion for preliminary injunction asks the court to enjoin the school district’s policy that opens up restrooms and locker rooms to the opposite sex while the case continues. The memorandum filed with the motion explains that allowing males who identify as girls to use the girls’ restrooms, locker rooms, and showers “violates and humiliates the girls.”

Responding to the DOE’s attempt to redefine the 1972 federal law known as Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, to include self-affirmed gender identity, the memorandum says, “The Department of Education, which enforces Title IX to ensure girls receive an education with access to facilities comparable to boys, has created a hostile learning environment, and the school is complicit. Ignoring legally required procedures, DOE created a rule that, for the first time, requires schools to let students use facilities according to their perceived gender, no matter their biological sex…. Both DOE and the District ignore the violation of Plaintiffs’ and other students’ constitutional privacy rights.”

The request for a preliminary injunction against District 211’s implementation of the DOE’s and DOJ’s mandate explains that these federal agencies are unlawfully attempting to redefine Title IX, which is a law that only Congress can alter. The DOE and DOJ cannot lawfully force school districts like District 211 to follow their illegitimate redefinition of Title IX, which violates the physical privacy rights of students.

“School districts have a duty to protect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students at their schools,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “When a school allows students of one sex to enter the restroom, locker rooms, and showers of students of the opposite sex, they violate that duty.”

Students at Township High School, which has opened restrooms and locker rooms to students of the opposite biological sex, “are in a state of near-constant anxiety, stress, and embarrassment because their school forces them to use the restroom and locker room with opposite-sex students,” the memorandum says.

It lists some of the “profoundly negative effect[s]” on the girls at the school, who dread using the restrooms and locker rooms where they might encounter a biologically male student: “Some actively avoid the locker rooms at school; […] some girls are avoiding the restroom and others are waiting as long as possible to use the restroom […] thus risking certain health problems; still others are risking tardiness by running to the opposite end of the school, during short five-minute passing periods, to try to find a restroom [a biological male] is unlikely to be using.”

“Allowing males into girls’ locker rooms, a setting where girls are often partially or fully unclothed, is a blatant violation of student privacy,” said Tedesco. “The school district should rescind its privacy-violating policies, and the court should order the Department of Education and Department of Justice to stop bullying school districts with falsehoods about what federal law requires.”

“Children are not guinea pigs,” the memorandum says, “and they should not be subjected to social experimentation to further political agendas as the price of a quality education.”
 
  • 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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