Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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Appeals Court Denies Plaintiff Appeal in Bathroom Suit
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2018-08-02

            A federal appeals court denied a request last month by six students claiming their rights were violated by the Boyertown Area School District to have the full U.S. Court of Appeals rehear their case. In an opinion filed July 26, a three-judge panel expressed its support for a lower court denying an injunction requested by the plaintiffs, who argued that their rights were violated because the district allowed transgender students to utilize the locker rooms and bathrooms to which they identify.

            The judges from the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia concluded that under the circumstances, "the presence of transgender students in the locker and restrooms is no more offensive to constitutional or Pennsylvania-law privacy interests than the presence of the other students who are not transgender. Nor does their presence infringe on the plaintiffs' rights under Title IX."

            The decision, written by Judge Theodore A. McKee, supports a claim by a District Court opinion that denied the plaintiffs' request for an injunction. According to McKee, the lower court concluded in an "exceedingly thorough, thoughtful, and well-reasoned opinion that the plaintiffs had not shown that they are likely to succeed on the merits and because they had not shown that they will be irreparably harmed absent the injunction."

            In March of 2017, an unnamed student at Boyertown High School filed a civil lawsuit against the district and three administrators in federal court for allegedly violating his right to bodily privacy in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.         

            Gender identity issues appear to be at the center of this case. According to the suit, filed by two Christian-based organizations, the plaintiff was exposed involuntarily "to an undressed student of the opposite sex while changing in his school's locker room."

            The incident violated the male student's rights as identified in the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Title IX and Pennsylvania's Public School Code of 1949, according to the text of the 31-page complaint filed by the Alliance Defending Freedom.


 

 

 

 

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