Supreme Court declines to hear challenge to transgender restroom policy

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed a lower court ruling to stand, meaning transgender students in a Pennsylvania school district can continue using whichever restroom suits their gender identity. File Photo by Hayoung Jeon/EPA-EFE

May 28 (UPI) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to hear a legal challenge to a Pennsylvania school district’s policy that allows transgender students to use whichever restroom they identify with.

The conservative Alliance Defending Freedom group has argued the Boyertown District’s policy violates student privacy. The high court, however, said it wouldn’t take up the case, meaning the decision last year in the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals will stand. The appellate court ruled in favor of restroom freedom.

The American Civil Liberties Union represented student Aidan DeStefano in the case.

“Our client Aidan was accepted as the boy he is — this should be every student’s experience,” the ACLU tweeted Tuesday. “Trans students are not a threat. This move means school districts can continue to allow trans students to participate in school activities, and use restrooms and locker rooms, that match their gender.”

The court’s decision not to take up the ban doesn’t set a legal precedent for transgender bathroom policies.

The ADF asked the Supreme Court to intervene on behalf of a student in the district who said he becomes “embarrassed and confused” when encountering a transgender student in the locker room. The student, “Joel Doe,” had lost points in gym class for failing to change clothes, the complaint said. “He eventually felt forced to leave the school entirely.”

A lower court found policies that discriminate against transgender students would cause more harm.

“When transgender students face discrimination in schools, the risk to their wellbeing cannot be overstated — indeed, it can be life threatening,” the 3rd Circuit opinion stated.


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