Positive actions by Trump administration, Minnesota school district end need for student privacy lawsuit
MINNEAPOLIS – A group of parents and students voluntarily ended their lawsuit Thursday against the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, and a Minnesota school district in the wake of positive actions that the two federal agencies and the district have taken to respect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students in intimate changing areas, such as locker rooms.
In February, the Trump administration affirmed that federal law supports distinguishing locker rooms based on biological sex when the DOE and DOJ withdrew an Obama era directive that misrepresented Title IX. (Minnesota law already authorizes schools to designate sex-specific locker rooms and restrooms.) That, together with various actions by Minnesota’s Virginia Public Schools to protect and accommodate student privacy, prompted the families, through their Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, to file a voluntary dismissal with the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota that leaves open the option to refile the case if the need ever arises again.
“School policies should respect the bodily privacy rights and safety of every student,” said ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb. “By rejecting the prior administration’s directive that imposed a meaning on Title IX that it simply doesn’t have, the federal government has again recognized that school officials shouldn’t be forced to intermingle the sexes in private facilities like locker rooms. For that reason, and because the school has taken steps to protect our clients’ privacy, we are voluntarily ending the lawsuit. We will, of course, monitor the situation to ensure that the rights of these young students will continue to be respected.”
The families, organized as the group Privacy Matters, filed their lawsuit, Privacy Matters v. United States Department of Education, in September of last year because a biologically male student was using a girls’ locker room. Since then, the DOE and DOJ changed their guidance. In addition, the school district designated one locker room for biological females only and enacted a policy that students will not be punished or found tardy for using private changing areas before class or sports practice.
Similar lawsuits that ADF attorneys are litigating continue in Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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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