Six Public School Students Go to Court to Defend their Civil Right to Personal Privacy
On Thursday, May 24, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled against student privacy in Doe v. Boyertown Area School District. Six courageous students from the Boyertown Area School District have been forced to defend their right to personal privacy against the school district’s unwritten policy which mandates that a girl’s right to privacy from members of the opposite sex be dependent upon how a boy identifies his own gender, and vice versa.
“No student should be forced into an intimate setting—like a locker room or shower—with someone of the opposite sex. The Boyertown District could have crafted policies that respect the privacy concerns of all students and are also sensitive to the needs of individual students. Instead, the district failed to fulfill its responsibility and harmed students rightfully concerned about their bodily privacy. The district must correct its policy—not only for our clients, but for all students within the Boyertown Area School District.”
– Randall Wenger, Chief Counsel – Independence Law Center
“The Supreme Court has already spoken: The real differences between men and women mean that privacy must be protected where it really counts, and that certainly includes high school locker rooms and restrooms. This decision is out of step with longstanding legal protection for privacy. We will continue advocating for these young students.”
– Christiana Holcomb, Legal Counsel – Alliance Defending Freedom
“Today’s ruling was very disappointing, and made me feel—again—like my voice was not heard. Every student’s privacy should be protected.”
– Alexis Lightcap, a Pennsylvania student who is part of a bodily privacy lawsuit against Boyertown Area School District
More of Alexis’ story at adflegal.org/alexis
“A girl’s privacy rights do not depend on what a boy believes about gender. Her bodily privacy from the opposite sex is hers, and does not exist or disappear based on anything a man believes.”
– Jeremy Samek, Senior Counsel – Independence Law Center
Case Summary: Joel Doe et al v. Boyertown Area School District – United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Philadelphia: Students appeal the denial of a preliminary injunction against their school after it opened locker rooms and restrooms to students identifying with the opposite sex. The appeal raises the right to bodily privacy and sexual harassment under Title IX.
Independence Law Center is a Pennsylvania-based pro-bono legal organization dedicated to advancing civil rights.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.