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Supreme Court of the United States

Breaking: Supreme Court Rejects Student Privacy Case

By Maureen Collins posted on:
February 25, 2019

Shaken and afraid. That’s how Alexis Lightcap felt after she walked into the girls’ restroom at her Pennsylvania high school and discovered a boy inside.

She went to a teacher and then to her class principal. But no one would listen.

Alexis is no stranger to how terrible it feels when people don’t listen to you. After spending several years in the foster care system, Alexis felt like she had lost her voice. Others spoke for her. Her identity seemed to fade into the background. She wasn’t treated as an individual but as a part of a system.

Alexis never wanted to feel that way again.

But that’s exactly what happened in her high school when Alexis’ principal dismissed her privacy concerns. He didn’t listen to how scared she was or how unsafe she felt. Instead, he told her that the school district had changed its policy to allow some students to use the locker rooms, shower areas, and restrooms of the opposite sex—all without notifying students or their parents.

Changing next to biological males in the locker room? Sharing restrooms with boys? She would just have to get used to that.

But Alexis was determined to make her voice heard. She joined a lawsuit against Boyertown School District and later publicly identified herself as one of the plaintiffs. Another student in the district had already challenged the policy in court after he realized that a biological female was standing in the boys’ locker room as he changed down to his underwear. School administrators had brushed aside his privacy concerns, too, telling him to try and act “natural” after he raised the issue.

Alexis could have remained anonymous. But she wanted to add a woman’s perspective to the case. This is a bold move for a hot-button issue like student privacy. But that’s who Alexis is. She made a promise to herself that she would never lose her voice again, and she is determined to keep that promise.

After a federal court ruled against her and her fellow students, Alexis asked the United States Supreme Court to take up their case. Unfortunately, today, the high court denied her request to hear her case.

While this is disappointing news, the fight for student privacy is far from over.

Across the country, school districts are adopting radical changes just like the one in Boyertown. Because of a small handful of students who identify as the opposite sex, these school districts are ignoring the privacy rights of all the students. They are forcing them to share locker rooms, shower areas, and restrooms with members of the opposite sex.

But a student’s right to bodily privacy does not depend on others’ beliefs about their own gender.

While students who are confused about their sex need compassionate support, there are so many different ways schools, teachers, and parents can accommodate them without harming the rights of other students.

Unfortunately, the way school districts are handling these cases shows that they aren’t listening to the privacy concerns of most students like Alexis and her classmates. Instead, they are treating them like a part of a system that they can manipulate to push a political agenda.

No one should be forced to share a locker room, shower area, or restroom with a member of the opposite sex. The Supreme Court has already affirmed that real, biological differences between men and women mean that privacy must be protected where it really counts.

Alexis refused to let others speak for her or allow her voice to be drowned out. Now, everyone who cares about our students must follow her example. The future of student privacy—and the rights of your children and grandchildren at school—could depend on it.


Maureen Collins

Maureen Collins

Digital Cultivation Manager

Maureen Collins serves as the Digital Cultivation Manager at Alliance Defending Freedom.


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