BLOGThe Pressure to Unlock Restroom Doors

By Alan Sears Posted on: | November 12, 2015
 School by school, district by district, educators across America are making their choices … while students’ privacy and safety hangs in the balance.

It’s been nearly a year since Alliance Defending Freedom sent public school districts nationwide a letter explaining their legal options in the face of growing pressure from activists to open school restrooms to students of the opposite sex. Those who make transgender demands are pushing the idea that boys who identify as girls should be allowed in girls’ locker rooms and vice versa – even at the elementary age level. And while administrators might be expected to invoke common sense and their pre-eminent responsibility for protecting children, too many are yielding to cries from those pressing for us to open the bathroom doors to everyone.

In New York, for instance, the Le Roy Central School District Board of Education recently decided to allow students of both sexes access to boys’ and girls’ locker rooms and restrooms.

“Schools can accommodate a small number of students that have different needs without compromising the rights of other children and their parents,” says ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “No child should be forced into an intimate setting – like a bathroom or a locker room – with a child of the opposite sex.”

ADF attorneys sent a letter last month to board members, asking them to reverse their decision and suggesting a policy that would address their concerns about alleged discrimination without allowing the sharing of restrooms.

“Allowing students to use opposite-sex restrooms and locker rooms would seriously endanger students’ privacy and safety, undermine parental authority, prejudice religious students’ free exercise rights, and severely impair an environment conducive to learning,” the ADF letter to Le Roy Central School District explains. “This ADF policy allows schools to accommodate students with unique privacy needs … while also protecting other students’ privacy and free exercise rights, and parents’ right to educate their children.”

It’s a policy whose wisdom and guidelines are being embraced by other school districts all over the country, like Township High School District 211 in Palatine, Illinois, whose officials recently made a deliberate choice to respect the privacy rights of their students. ADF and our allies at the Thomas More Society wrote a letter last month affirming the district’s decision.

“Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to the opposite sex is not only perfectly legal, it’s a school district’s duty,” says ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “The school district should continue to reject any attempts to pressure it into a policy that puts student privacy and safety in jeopardy.”

ADF attorneys are offering more than just moral support. The letters to both districts let administrators know that: “If a district adopts our model policy and it is challenged in court, Alliance Defending Freedom will review the facts and, if appropriate, offer to defend that district free of charge.”

The overwhelming “victory for common sense”  in Houston, Texas earlier this month – where a sizable majority voted down officials’ efforts to open school restrooms to members of the opposite sex in all public buildings – may encourage more school administrators to stand up to the transgender activists. But we can be sure that, in the current political and social climate, pressures will increasingly be brought to bear on schools to set aside long-established protections for their students … including, perhaps, your own children and grandchildren.

So, please: be alert, be in prayer, and be in contact with your district officials, encouraging them to adopt the fair and thoughtful bathroom policies being provided by our attorneys. The people of Houston have shown that no one has to cave in to the demands of a corrupt culture. And our children are worth this crucial fight.

Alan Sears


Alan Sears served as founder of Alliance Defending Freedom, building on his experience as longtime leader of the organization to strengthen alliances, forge new relationships, and develop ADF resources.

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