U.S. District Judge Edward Smith has endorsed a school district’s strategy to ignore the Trump administration’s advice regarding transgender students – and instead potentially expose its student body to students of the opposite sex sharing their showers.
The ruling from Smith came in the fight going on in the Boyertown Area School District, where officials last year abruptly, and without telling anyone, opened the school’s boys’ restrooms to boys or girls who say they are boys, and the girls’ facilities to girls or boys who say they are girls.
Several students exposed, without their permission, to other students of opposite sex, sued the district, and asked for a preliminary injunction to protect their privacy and modesty while the court case plays out.
Smith refused to allow them any protection whatsoever.
The idea for an open-showers policy came from the Barack Obama administration, but his counsel, in the form of a letter to district, was immediately reversed when President Donald Trump took office.
The Boyertown district simply decided to ignore the reversal, and Smith endorsed that.
“The school district believes that its ‘position is consistent with guidance from the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, the National School Boards Association, our solicitor and what the school district administration believe is fair and equitable under the circumstances,'” the judge opined.
The judge explained that the Boyertown district voted to continue the policy of exposing students to those of the opposite sex, and since that was the established practice, those suing weren’t likely to win a case to change the practice.
That’s even though the federal government at this point clearly has stated that schools are allowed to provide separate facilities for boys and girls, and in fact several law firms have warned schools they could face a huge liability for violating the rights of both students and parents by doing what Boyertown is practicing.
Christiana Holcomb, legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said, “School officials should protect the bodily privacy of all students. Because the Boyertown district has failed to respect the privacy rights that all students have under the U.S. Constitution and Pennsylvania law, we are consulting with our clients about appealing this decision so that their rights may be protected while the lawsuit proceeds. This is important not only for our clients, but for all students within the Boyertown Area School District, as every student deserves to have their privacy and dignity respected by school officials.”
Jeremy Samek, counsel for the Independence Law Center, which also is working on the case, added, “The district’s new policy permits a student to unilaterally eliminate the privacy rights of other students based simply on that student’s beliefs about gender. A person’s privacy rights are theirs and theirs alone. Beliefs about gender shouldn’t be a license to violate privacy inside boys’ or girls’ locker rooms and restrooms. That defeats the very purpose of sex-separated facilities.”
After writing more than 100 pages on how the students who brought the complaint were humiliated, embarrassed, fearful, and badgered by school administrators over the issue, the judge said, “The United States Constitution does not mention an explicit right to privacy.”
“This court has not located any court that has recognized a constitutional right of privacy as broadly defined by the plaintiffs,” the judge argued.
Anyway, he argued, “these rights are not such that ‘neither libery nor justice would exist if they were sacrificed.'”
WND reported only a few months back that the district itself suddenly was concerned about “student privacy.”
That was when officials in the Boyertown Area School District in Pennsylvania revealed that its board met and “unanimously approved a proposal by an area architectural firm to study how to possibly enhance student privacy in the high school’s locker and restrooms.”
The district statement said the study will focus on the high school but could “result in the establishment of a district-wide prototype for existing and future buildings.”
Supt. Richard Faidley, who was sued, noted in the statement that the plan will “evaluate the feasibility of modifying existing, multi-user high school facilities to enhance the level of privacy for all students.”
In the statement he said: “This is one case where not being first is a benefit. So the firm will be able to benefit from best practices, and also work affordably, in its planning and design.”
WND reported several students, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Independence Law Center, brought the case against Faidley and others for allowing both boys and girls to change and shower in the same room under the guise of accommodating “gender orientation.”
The claim was triggered when a high school student identified only as Joel Doe “was exposed involuntarily to an undressed female student while he was changing in his school’s locker room.”
Several other students were added to the case.
The lawsuit charges that without any notice to students or their parents, school officials “secretly opened” their sex-specific restrooms and locker rooms to students of the opposite sex.
The original plaintiff reported he was standing in his underwear about to put on his gym clothes when he suddenly noticed that a female student, also in a state of undress, was in the locker room.
The male student notified school officials, who informed him that they now authorize students who identify themselves as the opposite sex to use whichever locker room they wish. Rather than protect the student’s privacy, officials told him he must “tolerate” the presence of a female and make changing clothes with students of the opposite sex as “natural” as he can.
In another instance, “Mary Smith” entered a girls restroom to find a male student washing his hands in the sink, and when she notified school officials they told her “the student could now use restrooms or locker rooms with her since he identifies as a girl.”
She was told there were no other options.