At issue: The right to privacy in a school locker room

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

locker room 3The controversial bathroom and locker room policy of a Pennsylvania school district will be front and center on Thursday at the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia.

In September 2016, the Boyertown Area School District began permitting transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the gender with which they identify – but attorney Randall Wenger of the Independence Law Center says that tramples on the dignity of all students.

"Our bodily privacy doesn't depend on another person's subjective beliefs, but on our bodily differences," Wenger tells OneNewsNow. "'Joel Doe,' our leading plaintiff, learned about these policies when he was standing in his underwear in the locker room and saw a girl [a transgender boy] who was stripped down to her bra – and so he and a number of other students went to see the principal afterwards. The principal told them 'tolerate it' and make it 'natural.'" (See earlier story)

If the same circumstances were in an employment context, Wenger argues that no one would tell a woman in a workplace to change with the guys and make it natural.

Wenger

"We would say that's sexual harassment," Wenger continues. "So we sued the school [in May 2017] for sexual harassment and violation of the right of bodily privacy. That went before the federal district court in Pennsylvania, and now the issue is before the U.S. Court of Appeals."

Wenger believes the case will eventually end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.

"There's only a limited number of cases out there like this in the country that are being litigated," the attorney says. "Most of the time, it's the student who identifies with the opposite sex trying to get the locker room opened up to them, but this case differs because it's the students who are seeking to maintain bodily privacy and claiming sexual harassment who are bringing the lawsuit."

Alliance Defending Freedom is working with Independence Law Center on this case.

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