Third Circuit Upholds Previous Decision in Boyertown Transgender Case (May 26, 2018)

On Thursday, in Philadelphia, a panel of Third Circuit Appeals Court judges unanimously affirmed a lower court’s ruling, upholding the Boyertown Area School District’s practice of allowing transgender students to use the same restrooms and locker rooms as other students. The case, Doe v. Boyertown Area School District, was filed during the 2016-17 school year by students who claimed that the school district’s policy “violated the students’ bodily privacy rights” when it decided to implement a policy that allowed students to use the restroom facilities that correspond to their gender identity. They further argued that the new policy violated their constitutional right to privacy, as well as Title IX, a federal statute that prohibits sex discrimination in education.

It took less than 20 minutes for the three-judge appeals court panel to emphatically reject arguments made on behalf of the students by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative law firm intent on legalizing anti-LGBTQ discrimination through the courts.

Lawyers for the school district have contended that it has made reasonable accommodations to ensure that no one is forced to forfeit his or her privacy. They have also averred that the school district faces an equal protection claim if it fails to continue allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.

Despite the stunningly swift appeals court decision, the plaintiffs have stated that they will continue their legal fight.

The judges plan to issue a written opinion during the summer of 2018, which will further spell out their reasoning in a ruling that adds to a mounting body of decisions in favor of transgender students.