Pa. student to come forward: ‘Please stop my school from violating my privacy’
WHO: Student in lawsuit against Boyertown Area School District, ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb, and Independence Law Center Chief Counsel Randall Wenger
WHAT: Press conference following oral arguments in Doe v. Boyertown Area School District
WHEN: Thursday, May 24, immediately following hearing, which begins at 10 a.m. EDT
WHERE: U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, James A. Byrne United States Courthouse, 601 Market St., Philadelphia. (Press conference will be held outdoors on east side of courthouse; hearing will be held in the Maris Courtroom on 19th floor.)
PHILADELPHIA – A Pennsylvania student who is part of a bodily privacy lawsuit against Boyertown Area School District will participate in a press conference Thursday together with two of her attorneys, Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb and Independence Law Center Chief Counsel Randall Wenger. The press conference, which follows a hearing in the case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, will be the first time the student will publicly reveal her identity as a plaintiff.
During the 2016-17 school year—without informing parents or students—the school district secretly opened its high school locker rooms, showers, and restrooms to students of the opposite sex, which violated many students’ bodily privacy rights. Some of the students in the suit involuntarily encountered students of the opposite sex in various states of undress in school restrooms and locker rooms.
“No student should be forced into an intimate setting—like a locker room or shower—with someone of the opposite sex,” said Wenger, an ADF-allied attorney who will argue before the 3rd Circuit Thursday. “The Boyertown District could have crafted policies that respect the privacy concerns of all students and are also sensitive to the needs of individual students. Instead, the district failed to fulfill its responsibility and harmed students rightfully concerned about their bodily privacy. The district must correct its policy—not only for our clients, but for all students within the district.”
“School officials have a duty to protect the privacy and dignity of all students,” added Holcomb. “Our laws and customs have consistently recognized rights of privacy, and there is no legal mandate that every student in the district give up these rights.”
The lawsuit, Doe v. Boyertown Area School District, which students and parents appealed to the 3rd Circuit in September of last year, claims violation of the fundamental right to bodily privacy under the U.S. Constitution; sexual harassment under Title IX, a federal law; and violation of a state privacy law.
Independence Law Center is a Pennsylvania-based pro-bono legal organization dedicated to advancing civil rights.
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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