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Va. school district policy respects all children’s privacy, safety needs

Adopted policy similar to one ADF recommended to protect both district and students

GLOUCESTER, Va. – Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter Thursday to Gloucester County Public Schools commending it for adopting a policy that reserves restrooms and changing areas for members of the same biological sex while providing an alternative private facility for students struggling with sexual identity issues.

ADF recently sent the district a model policy and encouraged the district to respect children’s privacy and protect itself from legal liability in its effort to accommodate the needs of all students.

“Schools seeking to accommodate the desires of individual children should and can craft policies that respect the privacy concerns of all children,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “We commend Gloucester County Public Schools for adopting a policy that does just that.”

“We applaud the District for listening to parents and respecting their right to control their children’s education and upbringing,” the ADF letter states. “As GCPS’s policy on student privacy demonstrates, schools can reconcile the competing interests in these delicate situations by being respectful of the privacy concerns of all children and sensitive to the diverse needs of individual children.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia has denounced the school board’s decision and threatened a lawsuit. The ADF letter offers the school district free legal assistance if the ACLU or anyone else files a lawsuit against the policy.

ADF recently sent public school districts nationwide a letter and the same recommended policy that it sent to Gloucester County Public Schools. The letter cites pertinent legal precedent, including court rulings that support the ability of public schools to restrict restrooms to members of the same sex for privacy and safety reasons without violating Title IX, a federal law concerning sex discrimination in public school programs and activities.

“Any privacy and safety policy should respect all children because every child matters,” added ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Rory Gray. “Both the GCPS policy and the ADF model policy demonstrate that schools can accommodate the desires of a small number of students without compromising the rights of other children and their parents.”

  • Pronunciation guide: Tedesco (Tuh-DESS’-koh)

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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