I remember middle school and high school locker room discomfort as if it were yesterday. Changing into different clothes for PE and weight training classes, as well as for after-school sports, or quickly rinsing off in the shower when we were especially active, was always awkward and done as quickly as possible. Your body goes through a lot of changes during those glorious school years as you slowly make the natural transition to womanhood. Needless to say, these changes can be rather unpleasant at times.
Now imagine a bunch of vulnerable—many insecure—girls being told by their school district that a biological male student doesn't feel comfortable in the boy's locker room, and because of that, they are going to allow him to use the girl's locker room instead, as he prefers.
Ladies, if it were you, would you be okay with that? Parents, would you be okay if your daughter was told that at school?
While you mull over that scenario, allow me to introduce you to the students of District 211 in Chicago.
These students are experiencing the circumstance that I just described. But instead of sitting back and being steamrolled by the U.S. Department of Education, and the hyperbolic and ruthless LGBT lobby, these students are standing up for their rights.
Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit, Students and Parents for Privacy v. United States Department of Education, on behalf of 51 Palatine-area families against the US Department of Education and Township High School District 211. The lawsuit targets U.S. Department of Education rules that unlawfully redefine terms of Title IX and illegitimately force schools to open public school restrooms and locker rooms to members of the opposite sex in violation of student privacy and safety.
“No government agency can unilaterally redefine the meaning of a federal law to serve its own political ends,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “The Department of Education is exceeding what it is legally and constitutionally allowed to do. In fact, at least five other federal and state courts have rejected the DOE’s interpretation of Title IX.”
The sad truth is that with each passing day, the U.S. Department of Education grows more aggressive in enforcing its view that boys should be allowed in girls’ restrooms, showers, and locker rooms.
District 211 originally opened up only student restrooms to members of the opposite sex (a blatant privacy violation in and of itself), but decided to keep locker rooms private. Alternatively, it provided a private accommodation for the male student who was uncomfortable using the boys' locker room. But even this wasn't good enough for the Department of Education, which threatened the district with charges of discrimination, saying it would revoke the school's Title IX funding, which would be a $6 million loss, if it didn't allow the male student into the girl's locker room.
And voila! Another bad policy was born.
“Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to the opposite sex is not only perfectly legal, it’s a school district’s duty,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Allowing boys into girls’ locker rooms, a setting where girls are often partially or fully unclothed, is a blatant violation of student privacy. The school district should rescind its privacy-violating policies, and the court should order the Department of Education to stop bullying school districts with falsehoods about what federal law requires.”
Clearly these students don't have an agenda to single out students who perceive themselves as the opposite sex. In fact, they sympathize with the student who doesn't feel comfortable in his own body. But bodily insecurities are unfortunately a fact of life. And in the U.S., the right to bodily privacy is also, thankfully, a fact of life.
These students should not be forced to open their locker room, shower and restroom doors to the opposite sex because one male student is uncomfortable. These students shouldn't have to dread going to school because they feel anxious and humiliated knowing they will have to use the restroom or locker room with a male student. And most of all, they should not be forced to sacrifice what should be a safe, private, female space because government bureaucrats value political correctness that caters to the agenda of special interest groups over the constitutional right to bodily privacy.
Learn More about This Important Case
No law—including Title IX, the federal law concerning sex discrimination at schools and colleges that receive federal education funds—requires schools to allow boys into girls’ restrooms or girls into boys’ restrooms. Please share this far and wide so other school districts will not make the same mistake of caving to the Department of Education's agenda-driven demands. Learn more about the DOE's campaign of misinformation here and here.
ADF is committed to protecting the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing, care, and education of their children.
ADF’s Center for Legislative Advocacy is working in state legislatures across the country, advocating for legislation that ensures the government cannot infringe on fundamental parental rights.
ADF is representing a religiously and ethnically diverse group of parents and students to challenge the racially discriminatory policies and practices of Albemarle County Public Schools.