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Judge Warns: No Right to 'Visual Bodily Privacy' for High School Girls

04-08-2019
(Image: Adobe Stock)
(Image: Adobe Stock)

After a three-year legal battle, a federal judge for the Northern District of Illinois has ruled a lawsuit can proceed against an Illinois school district that said it was OK for high school transgender students to use girls' locker rooms, restrooms, and showers. 

But the court's decision wasn't all good news for the families who are fighting to protect their children's safety and privacy. The College Fix reports the judge also took a swipe at individual privacy rights, ruling the girls have no right to "visual bodily privacy" if the government says so.

As CBN News reported, dozens of families joined in the lawsuit against Chicago-area Township High School District 211 back in 2016 because of the district's policy of letting children as young as 14 choose to use the locker rooms of the opposite sex without informing parents. 

The district opened the girls' locker room to a boy after the Obama administration's Department of Education threatened the district's federal funding.

Under the Trump administration, the agency rescinded the Obama administration's attempt to rewrite federal law and restored the understanding that, under Title IX, "sex" means male or female and not one's beliefs about their gender.

The 1972 federal law prohibits schools from discriminating "on the basis of sex," which for more than 40 years has meant being male or female. Title IX's existing regulations specifically state that a school receiving federal funds can "provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex" without putting that funding at risk.

US District Judge Jorge Alonso ruled the Title IX and religious freedom claims can go forward in the lawsuit.  

Tom Petersen, director of community relations for the district, emphasized that "only three" of the five claims in the lawsuit are going forward.

"The District will continue to defend our practices that affirm and support the identity of all our students," he wrote in an email to The College Fix.

The families are represented by attorneys for the Alliance Defending Freedom

"We need a compassionate approach to protecting students' privacy, and we welcome the court's decision to allow key claims to move forward," ADF Legal Counsel Christiana Holcomb said in a press release. "The district officially authorizes opposite-sex use of school privacy facilities, and that violates Title IX. Letting boys into girls' showers, restrooms, and locker rooms is sexual harassment. Students should be confident that their school will protect their privacy and dignity. So far, this school district has failed to do so."

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