May 2017 Church & State - May 2017

ADF Files Lawsuit On Behalf Of Pennsylvania Student Objecting To Transgender Policy

  AU admin

The Religious Right-affiliated legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Pennsylvania teenager who objects to sharing a boys’ locker room with a transgender student.

The 11th-grade boy at Boyertown Area School District near Philadelphia said his privacy was violated and he was embarrassed after learning that a transgender boy was in the same locker room as he was while the plaintiff was in his underwear.

ADF, which filed the suit along with the Independence Law Center, claims the district had “secretly” allowed transgender students to use the facilities that conform with their gender identity.

The groups claim their plaintiff was told he had to “tolerate” sharing facilities with transgender students and could transfer or be homeschooled if he didn’t like Boyertown’s policy.

Officials at the school district dispute ADF’s claims. In a statement posted on the school district’s website, district officials deny the boy was told he had to “tolerate” the situation or that he should leave the district if he couldn’t.

The district said the boy was offered alternatives, including using private shower stalls in the locker room or using a private facility to change before and after gym class. The district also noted that the transgender student typically wore his gym clothes beneath his school clothes to avoid revealing his underwear in the locker room.

The district said it does not have a formal policy for transgender students, but tries to address situations on a case-by-case basis.

“The district believes that transgender students should have the right to use school bathroom and locker facilities on the same basis as non-transgender students,” according to its online statement. “The district is sensitive to the concerns of both transgender and non-transgender students and allows all impacted students to accommodate their specific concerns by using separate bathroom and/or changing facilities.”

ADF and Independence Law Center offered not to file the Doe v. Boyertown Area School District lawsuit if the district complied with several demands – namely, declaring all multi-use restrooms and locker rooms would be used only by people of the corresponding biological sex. In other words, transgender students would not be able to use facilities that aligned with their gender identities.

The Boyertown Area School Board on March 28 declined to accept ADF’s demands, according to The Mercury News in Pottstown. 

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