PITTSBURGH – Alliance Defending Freedom and DefendMyPrivacy.org sent a letter to Pittsburgh Public Schools Friday that asks it to reject a proposed policy that would allow children to use bathrooms of the opposite sex. The letter provides a suggested policy that addresses the school district’s concerns about discrimination without opening restrooms, showers, and locker rooms to opposite-sex usage.
The letter explains that no law requires public schools to allow boys into girls’ restrooms or girls into boys’ restrooms. In fact, a federal court in Pittsburgh last year upheld a University of Pittsburgh policy that required students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their biological sex. The letter also warns that the district could be exposing itself to legal liability for violating the right of students to bodily privacy.
“Protecting young children 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,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “Letting boys into girls’ bathrooms is an invasion of privacy and a threat to children’s safety. The school district is actually subjecting itself to potential liability if any of these children encounter any harm.”
The ADF letters cite pertinent legal precedent, including court rulings that support the ability of public schools to limit restrooms and locker rooms to members of the same sex for privacy and safety reasons without violating Title IX, a federal law concerning sex discrimination in public school programs and activities.
Title IX and its 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.
“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…,” the letter explains. “ADF’s policy allows your District to accommodate students with unique privacy needs, including transgender students, while also protecting other students’ privacy and free exercise rights, and parents’ right to educate their children.”
“Each child deserves a safe space, and it’s our duty as parents to fight for their right to privacy,” added DefendMyPrivacy.org representative Carla D’Addesi. “Schools can accommodate students that have different preferences without compromising the rights and completely understandable needs of other children and their parents. No child should be forced into an intimate setting—like a bathroom or a locker room—with a person of the opposite sex.”
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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