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Bathroom bill injunction puts Idaho students in danger

Bathroom bill injunction puts Idaho students in danger

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
August 11, 2023

By Anna Miller and Brian Almon

The U.S. District Court of Idaho has temporarily blocked a law requiring public schools to separate bathrooms and locker rooms based on a student’s biological sex. The order establishes that schools may keep existing transgender student policies in place prior to Gov. Brad Little signing Senate Bill 1100. At least 26 school districts in Idaho enforce some variation of these policies which allow boys in girls’ bathrooms or locker rooms. 

The lawsuit, Roe v. Critchfield, was filed in federal court by Lambda Legal on behalf of Boise High School's Gender and Sexuality Alliance and Rebecca Roe, a seventh-grade child in the Boise School District experiencing gender confusion. Plaintiffs allege that Idaho's law is "unconstitutional and disproportionately harms students who identify as transgender." 

Prior to SB 1100 passing, there was a patchwork of school district transgender student policies. The order holds that approximately 75% of the 115 school districts in Idaho maintained a policy mandating students to use restrooms, changing facilities, and overnight accommodations corresponding to their biological gender, while 25% had policies in place that allowed for students to use facilities that do not correspond to their biological gender.

In addition to allowing students to use bathrooms based on their gender identity rather than biological sex, many of the 26 school district transgender student policies also require teachers to use the pronouns and names corresponding to a student’s gender identity regardless of their deeply held religious or personal beliefs, authorize training teachers and staff members in “gender diversity,” and keep parents in the dark about a student’s name or pronoun change or desire to transition.

The District Court ruling maintains that the state must temporarily allow school districts to keep these existing transgender student policies "until the court can hear the case on its merits." 

There is already a circuit split on the issues raised in this case. As Chief District Court Judge David Nye pointed out, the Fourth Circuit and the Seventh Circuit have decided that denying students bathroom access based on their gender identity violates both Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause, while the Eleventh Circuit found that a school district's policy of separating school bathrooms based on biological sex is constitutional. 

Nye candidly added, "The Court does not know if Plaintiffs will be able to show success on the merits or not at the upcoming hearing." 

The decision does not find Idaho's bathroom law unconstitutional, but it does put student privacy at risk and threatens parental rights by pausing enforcement of the law. According to such policies, men can become women, and parents are bigots if they do not approve. This corrupt gender ideology in schools drives a profound wedge between gender-dysphoric children and their parents. School officials keep parents in the dark and consider them “transphobic” if they are unsettled by the idea that a school could let boys in their daughters' bathroom or rename and re-sex their child without notification or consent. 

Lambda Legal argues that this case is about the “safety” of so-called transgender students. What about the safety of everyone else? The leftist activists pushing this lawsuit want you to believe that validating the confusion of a boy in a dress is more important than the real privacy and safety of girls in their own bathrooms, locker rooms, and overnight accommodations. When the inevitable tragedy occurs, the concern these activists have about “safety” will be long gone. This is social engineering, with our schoolchildren as pawns.

The court should uphold a first principles reading of the Constitution which supports the responsibility of school districts to protect student privacy and parental rights.

The next hearing for the Preliminary Injunction Motion is scheduled for September 13, 2023.

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