Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Highland Local School District filed suit Friday against the U.S. departments of Education and Justice for making federal educational funding dependent on students sharing overnight accommodations, locker rooms, showers and restrooms with the opposite sex.
The Department of Education has threatened the federal funding of Highland Local School District—situated in Ohio’s Morrow, Knox, and Delaware counties—because officials there have not allowed a student who professes a gender that conflicts with that student’s biological sex to access intimate facilities like overnight accommodations, locker rooms, showers, and restrooms designated for and used by students of the opposite sex.
“Schools have a duty to protect the dignity, privacy, and safety of all students. This is precisely what Highland Local School District has done,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jim Campbell. “Despite that, the Department of Education is attempting to strong-arm Highland into complying with a lawless demand to open its single-sex overnight accommodations, locker rooms, showers, and restrooms to students of the opposite sex. The DOE is trying to redefine a federal law that only Congress can change.”
The district has allowed the student to use single-use restrooms and has acceded to nearly all of the requests from the student’s guardian to respect that student’s professed gender. But the guardian nonetheless filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights because the district will not provide the child with access to intimate facilities designated for the opposite sex. Acting on the complaint, OCR has demanded that the district allow such access despite the district’s obligation to protect the dignity interests and privacy rights of all its students.
“As a result, Highland faces an impossible choice: capitulate to Defendants’ demands and sacrifice the dignity and privacy rights of their students; or protect those rights and watch Defendants strip away more than a million dollars each year in federal funding devoted to special-education programs, lunches for underprivileged children, and educational advancement,” the ADF complaint states.