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ADF to 4th Circuit: Every child matters

ADF attorneys file friend-of-the-court-brief asking court to protect bodily privacy of all children
This Ohio School District Wants to Protect the Privacy of Its Students, but the Government Won't Allow It

RICHMOND, Va. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a friend-of-the-court brief Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit on behalf of the many parents and students that have sought ADF assistance to protect their personal privacy while using school locker rooms, showers, and restrooms. The brief supports the Gloucester County School Board’s privacy policy that protected all of its students by reserving the use of sensitive areas like rest rooms to members of the same sex, while providing alternate private facilities to students who are uncomfortable using their respective sex-designated restrooms.

“No child should be forced to share their privacy facilities with a child of the opposite sex,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb. “Boys don’t belong in girls’ facilities, and vice versa. Schools must protect the bodily privacy rights of all students under Title IX, which specifically authorizes separate privacy facilities for boys and girls and thus respects every child’s dignity and bodily privacy. That’s why we are asking the appeals court to uphold the district judge’s well-reasoned decision in favor of the school’s policy.”

In 2015, a female high school student who perceives herself to be a boy filed suit against the school board alleging that the board’s policy violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and federal law (Title IX). The board responded that intermingling the sexes in the boys’ private facilities would violate other students’ privacy rights. To accommodate the student, they provided access to convenient, wholly private single-user restrooms.

The school board’s policy was upheld in federal district court in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, which found that the policy “seeks to protect an interest in bodily privacy that the 4th Circuit has recognized as a constitutional right.” Nonetheless, on appeal, the 4th Circuit’s three-judge panel rejected the lower court’s ruling, with one judge strongly dissenting. In October, The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently vacated that ruling and sent the case back to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration in light of President Trump rescinding the Obama administration directives shortly after taking office.

The key legal issue presented in G.G. v. Gloucester County School Bd. is whether federal sex nondiscrimination law—Title IX—which was intended to provide equal access for girls to educational opportunities—will instead be used for a purpose other than Congress intended. In February, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice rescinded the Obama Administration’s directives to school districts that misrepresented Title IX. ADF is litigating federal court cases in IllinoisPennsylvania, and Ohio and working with parents, students, and school officials across America to ensure student privacy is respected.

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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