STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Judge's Ruling Supports Oregon School's Transgender Policy

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against an Oregon school district's policy that allows transgender students to use locker rooms and bathrooms of the gender they identify with instead of their birth sex.

Posted: Jul 25, 2018 4:20 PM

By ANDREW SELSKY , Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against an Oregon school district's policy that allows transgender students to use locker rooms and bathrooms of the gender they identify with instead of their birth sex.

Some parents and students at a high school in Dallas, Oregon, said in the lawsuit that the policy caused "embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, intimidation, fear, apprehension, and stress produced by using the restroom with students of the opposite sex."

Similar lawsuits have been dismissed by courts in several other parts of the country. Mat dos Santos, legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon which intervened in this lawsuit, said the group would fight a similar one recently filed in Sutherlin, Oregon.

In his 56-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez said "high school students do not have a fundamental privacy right to not share school restrooms, lockers, and showers with transgender students whose biological sex is different than theirs."

The ACLU and the ACLU of Oregon intervened in the case earlier this year on behalf of Basic Rights Oregon, a non-profit organization that protects the rights of Oregon's LGBTQ community.

The lawsuit was triggered by the Dallas School District's decision to allow student Elliot Yoder, a transgender boy, to use boys' facilities. The school has a gender-neutral bathroom that Yoder used for changing before gym, and he asked to use the boys' facilities because it was two floors from the locker room. Other students noticed when he left to change.

Brook Shelley of Basic Rights Oregon said Tuesday's ruling sends a clear message to school districts that transgender students deserve as safe and affirming an education as every other student.

"We are thrilled with the judge's decision," Shelley said.

The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia in May rejected a similar lawsuit, saying plaintiffs may experience stress because of transgender students' presence in school facilities, but that stress was not "comparable to the plight of transgender students who are not allowed to use facilities consistent with their gender identity," Hernandez noted.

The potential threat that a high school student might see or be seen by someone of the opposite biological sex while either are undressing or performing bodily functions "does not give rise to a constitutional violation," Hernandez concluded.

Furthermore, bathrooms have stalls with doors for privacy, he noted.

Herb Grey, an attorney for the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent by phone and email. He earlier said the district's policy violated the civil rights of the majority of the students who do not identify as transgender. Boys using the locker room and bathroom feel embarrassed and ashamed to have to disrobe in the presence of another student who was biologically female, he said.

The lawsuit named the Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown because of guidelines issued by the state last year outlining what districts should do to accommodate transgender students. The guidelines are not the law but are based on numerous court opinions that have interpreted Title IX protections as extending to transgender students.

The lawsuit also named the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, although the Trump administration rolled back an Obama-era directive on transgender inclusion last year.

About 15,000 people live in Dallas, a town in an agricultural area 15 miles (24 kilometers) west of Salem, the state capital.

A federal magistrate in Illinois in 2016 sided against parents in Palatine, Illinois, who had sued under similar circumstances.

A Pennsylvania school district in 2017 settled a lawsuit brought by three transgender students who had been barred from using bathrooms that corresponded to their gender identity.

___

Follow Andrew Selsky on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andrewselsky

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 42808

Reported Deaths: 664
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9292163
Marion5929108
Washington583877
Umatilla337645
Clackamas317265
Lane241927
Malheur192738
Jackson17076
Deschutes113613
Yamhill100115
Linn81615
Polk65715
Jefferson6059
Morrow5457
Lincoln51713
Union4682
Benton4456
Klamath4173
Douglas3598
Wasco34816
Hood River2771
Columbia2691
Josephine2693
Coos2510
Clatsop2440
Baker1253
Crook1102
Tillamook700
Curry581
Wallowa462
Lake380
Harney340
Sherman190
Gilliam110
Grant110
Wheeler20
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 914888

Reported Deaths: 17460
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3020777027
Riverside669931303
San Bernardino633671073
Orange589801454
San Diego55210877
Kern33928416
Fresno30969439
Sacramento25601491
Santa Clara24425392
Alameda23471462
San Joaquin21729489
Contra Costa18763242
Stanislaus17714398
Tulare17590288
Ventura14330165
Imperial12967336
San Francisco12189140
Monterey1141990
San Mateo11198159
Santa Barbara9827122
Merced9531155
Sonoma9494136
Kings826483
Solano744576
Marin7096129
Madera503774
Placer420757
San Luis Obispo417432
Yolo321959
Butte309552
Santa Cruz280825
Napa196616
Shasta195431
Sutter186512
San Benito144215
El Dorado13514
Yuba132310
Mendocino113621
Tehama8928
Lassen7661
Lake69816
Glenn6713
Nevada6238
Humboldt56810
Colusa5516
Calaveras34218
Amador33116
Tuolumne2754
Inyo23115
Siskiyou2050
Del Norte1801
Mono1802
Mariposa792
Plumas700
Modoc360
Trinity270
Sierra60
Alpine30
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 51°
Brookings
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 61°
Crater Lake
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 49°
Grants Pass
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 46°
Klamath Falls
Clear
49° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 49°
Cold morning, warm afternoon
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events