By: Katie Heller
Yesterday, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of parents and students in Minnesota against the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and Minnesota’s Independent School District No. 706. for disregarding student privacy and safety. Here’s what you need to know about this newest attempt to force students to share locker rooms, showers, and other private spaces with opposite-sex classmates:
After the DOE and DOJ threatened to remove federal education funding of any public school that did not bow to their baseless directives, the district implemented an open door policy that forces girls to use locker rooms and shower areas with some male students.
The young female students were not made aware that the district changed its locker room policy until a male student began using the locker room.
The male student’s sexually charged behavior while using the girl’s locker room, which is referenced in the complaint, is a clear example of why policies like these threaten the privacy and dignity of students, especially young women. The male student was seen in the locker room dancing “in a sexually explicit manner—‘twerking,’ ‘grinding’ or dancing like he was on a ‘stripper pole’ to songs with explicit lyrics.” And, on another occasion, a female student saw the male student “lift his dress to reveal his underwear while ‘grinding’ to the music.”
“School policies should promote the rights and safety of every student, but that’s not what Virginia Public Schools is doing—and it’s certainly not what the departments of Education and Justice are doing,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb. “No child should be forced into an intimate setting, like a locker room, with someone of the opposite sex. Telling girls that their privacy and modesty don’t merit a private and secure changing area is an attack on women. The school district should rescind its privacy-violating policies, and the court should order the DOE and DOJ to stop bullying school districts with falsehoods about what federal law requires.”
It is common sense: boys and girls should not be forced by schools or the federal government to undress in locker rooms together or sleep in the same rooms on overnight trips against their will.
In fact, countless students and parents and 24 states agree that the DOE’s threat to take away federal funding if public school districts do not open locker rooms and showers to members of the opposite sex is an abuse of its authority. Here’s how they are taking action:
Schools have a duty to protect the privacy, dignity, and safety of all students. Student privacy should not be put at risk by eliminating common sense privacy protections. No one – including schools and the federal government – should command young girls to undress and be exposed to a member of the opposite sex in intimate settings. Schools can accommodate the few students with particular needs without compromising the rights of every other child and their parents.
The Rights and Safety of Every Student Matters
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