Thomas More Society and Alliance Defending Freedom
send letter with legal precedent to School Board
Attorneys from the Thomas More Society and Alliance Defending Freedom have sent a letter to the School Board and Superintendent Daniel Cates of School District 211, articulating the rights of students and parents to privacy in sex-specific showers and changing areas and the rights of the school district to maintain policies keeping opposite sex students, including transgender students, out of those areas. The Obama administration’s Office of Civil Rights has demanded that the school district reverse the policy.
“A school should not force students to share a shower and changing room with students of the opposite sex,” said Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Special Counsel. “If a high school student who is biologically male is allowed to use the female showers and changing room, this would jeopardize the privacy of all the young women using their designated locker room. Instead, the privacy rights of all children must be guaranteed and protected, and separate accommodations provided as necessary.”
The letter sent to the School Board by Thomas More Society and Alliance Defending Freedom provides legal backing for the school to enact policies respecting the privacy of all students, specifically that:
(1) no federal law requires public schools to open sex-specific restrooms, showers, and changing areas to opposite-sex students
(2) providing such access violates the fundamental rights of the vast majority of students and parents, and
(3) schools have broad discretion to regulate the use of school restrooms, showers, and changing areas.
Furthermore, the letter states that a school’s granting students access to opposite-sex changing areas could subject the school to tort liability for violating students’ and parents’ rights: “Allowing students to use opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms would seriously endanger students’ privacy and safety, undermine parental authority, violate religious students’ free exercise rights, and severely impair an environment conducive to learning. These dangers are so clear-cut that a school district allowing such activity would clearly expose itself to tort liability. Consequently, school districts should reject polices that force students to share restrooms and locker rooms with members of the opposite sex.”
The Thomas More Society urges School District 211 to ensure privacy of all children in its school system.
Read the letter from Thomas More Society and Alliance Defending Freedom here.