A federal judge ruled Monday that an Ohio school district’s policy that allows students to use the bathroom on the basis of gender identity rather than biological sex, may stand.
In 2022, a coalition of parents, represented by America First Legal, sued Bethel Local Schools alleging that the district’s policy was enacted without community input and infringed on parental rights, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. Judge Michael Newman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio dismissed the lawsuit arguing that while parents have the right to choose where their child attends school, they do not have the “constitutional right to revoke a school’s policy on student bathroom usage.”
“The landmark decision makes clear the school district acted neutrally towards all students, wanting to follow the law, to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sex, protecting the rights of its transgender students, when it comes to making all campus restrooms accessible to all students in conformity with the student’s gender identity,” Lynnette Dinkler, legal counsel for Bethel Local Schools, told WHIO News.
In 2020, a middle school principal within Bethel Local Schools permitted a biological male student, who was identifying as a girl, to use the two single-occupancy bathrooms available in the nurse’s office and faculty area, according to court documents. Because of the accommodation, the student alleges being “ostracized, humiliated and targeted by other students,” including that the bathroom was always in use, forcing the student to hold their urine.
After the student’s father requested in 2021 that the male student be allowed to use the girl’s bathroom in addition to the two single-occupancy bathrooms, Bethel Local Schools changed its policy to allow restroom use on the basis of gender identity rather than biological sex, court documents showed.
The coalition of parents who sued the school in 2022 for the policy alleged that “for a variety of reasons including safety, privacy, modesty, religion and historical views of sex” it is important that bathrooms be used on the basis of biological sex, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The lawsuit alleged that the policy infringed on the rights of Christian and Muslim parents.
Throughout the country, parents, lawmakers and school boards are debating how bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams should be separated; on Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union sued a Missouri school district that refused to allow a male student to use the girls’ bathroom. A judge blocked a Wisconsin school district in July from enforcing a policy that keeps boys from using the girls’ bathroom.
Bethel Local Schools and America First Legal did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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