Independence Law Center

VICTORY: Court Shows Schools Can Protect Privacy Rights

August 6, 2016 | No comments | Posted in Privacy rights | Tags: , , ,

As schools prepare to open their doors and welcome students back, the U.S. Supreme Court just made an important ruling giving welcomed clarification to School Districts in Pennsylvania and around the country.

The court’s 5-3 decision on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 ensures that schools can continue to protect the privacy and safety of all its students by holding that Gloucester School District in Virginia is permitted to maintain bathrooms, locker rooms and showers on the basis of biological sex while the Supreme Court decides if it will take up the case.

When their students return, the school board policy will be back in effect.  That policy protects students’ privacy and safety by reserving restrooms and locker rooms for members of the same biological sex, while providing an alternative private facility for students uncomfortable using a facility that corresponds with their sex.

What does this mean for Pennsylvania?

Schools here can be confident that they can maintain common-sense distinctions based on biological sex in bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities during this school year, and can continue to do so even if the Supreme Court does not decide to make a decision in the Gloucester case.

This decision is consistent with at least five other federal and state court decisions, including a 2015 Federal District Court case in Pennsylvania, and two decisions from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, that have rejected the argument made by the Obama administration that a man who identifies as a girl must be permitted to use bathrooms, locker rooms, showers with the opposite sex (and vice versa).

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