More than 8,900 students, parents and community members have signed on to a friend-of-the-court brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold student privacy and safety.
The document concerns the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia. A female student there is asking to use the boys restrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities.
“Schools have a duty to protect the privacy and safety of all students,” said Gary McCaleb, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed the brief. “Decades of court decisions have established that, in light of the right of bodily privacy, 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.”
President Obama decreed that school districts across the nation must open the most private of facilities to anyone of either sex, by redefining the terms of Title IX in federal law. The Supreme Court has put a hold on that edict pending outcome of this case.
“Title IX’s regulations specifically authorize schools to have separate restrooms and locker rooms for boys and girls,” said Matt Sharp with ADF. “The policy accommodates students who aren’t comfortable using facilities designated for their biological sex without neglecting the established right of children to bodily privacy and safety.”
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A Tennessee House subcommittee held hearings today on bill that would protect the physical privacy of students in public school restrooms.
A Tennessee House subcommittee held hearings today on bill that would protect the physical privacy of students in public school restrooms. HB 2414 seeks to protect the privacy rights of all students, but especially those who have suffered sexual trauma.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Matt Sharp testified before the committee.
“Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to members of the opposite sex is not only legal, it’s an important duty of officials who watch over our children,” he said. “Letting boys into girls’ restrooms and changing areas, for example, is an invasion of privacy and a threat to student safety.”
The state Department of Education said they are simply following the guidelines laid out in the Title IX law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any school that receives federal funds.
“That’s not what Title IX means,” said Sharp. “It’s deeply ironic that the Department of Education is using its lawless misinterpretation of Title IX to pressure schools to adopt policies that actually violate Title IX.”
Family Action Council of Tennessee President David Fowler said the state DOE claims it’s only trying to give the schools local control.
“The Tennessee Department of Education needs to stop hiding behind all these specious arguments and develop an ethical spine regarding human sexuality and biology,” he said. “It needs to say that there is something true about the nature of human biology or there is not, and then support policies accordingly.”