51 Families Sue High School District 211, Department of Education, DOJ for Violating Student Privacy at Fremd


A group of students and parents at Fremd High School is suing the U.S. Department of Education and District 211 — Illinois’ largest high school district — after school officials granted a transgender student access to the girls locker room.

In the lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday, the group contends that the actions of the Department of Education and Palatine-based Township High School District 211 “trample students’ privacy” rights and create an “intimidating and hostile environment” for students who share the locker rooms and restrooms with the transgender student.

“Students have an expectation of privacy in restrooms and locker rooms, and that expectation is violated when a school puts the opposite-sex student in those kinds of private and intimate facilities,” said Jeremy Tedesco, attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious legal advocacy group representing the plaintiffs.

“Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to the opposite sex is not only perfectly legal, it’s a school district’s duty. Allowing boys into girls’ locker rooms, a setting where girls are often partially or fully unclothed, is a blatant violation of student privacy. The school district should rescind its privacy-violating policies, and the court should order the Department of Education to stop bullying school districts with falsehoods about what federal law requires.”

— ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco

The group of student and parents also asserts that the Department of Education’s inclusion of gender identity under Title IX is unlawful. The gender identity is intended to protect against discrimination based on sex.

Transgender issues are in the spotlight as the U.S. Justice Department today said that North Carolina’s recently adopted Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, violates federal civil rights protections.

The “bathroom bill” legislates that in government buildings, individuals may only use restrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificates. The bill has been criticized because it prevents transgender people, who do not or cannot alter their birth certificates, from using the restroom of their proclaimed gender.

On May 4, 2016, the United States Department of Justice notified Governor McCrory that House Bill 2 violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. McCrory has been given until May 9, 2016, to confirm that North Carolina will not implement or comply with the bill.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys is representing 51 families in the Palatine area that filed suit Wednesday against two federal agencies and Township High School District 211 for disregarding student privacy and safety.

Jeremy Tedesco, Esq., serves as senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, where he is director of the Center for Conscience Initiatives.

Since joining ADF in 2004, Tedesco has litigated cases protecting religious liberty, free speech, and the sanctity of human life.

The ADF says the district secretly opened its schools’ restrooms to the opposite sex and then opened the girls’ locker room to a boy after the U.S. Department of Education threatened the district’s federal funding. The agency based its threat on its inaccurate interpretation of Title IX, a 1972 federal law that, contrary to the agency’s opinion, actually authorizes schools to retain single-sex restrooms and locker rooms. The lawsuit, filed by families representing 73 parents and 63 students, contends that the DOE is unlawfully redefining the terms of Title IX, something that only Congress can alter, and is illegitimately forcing its political will on school districts.

ADF says that Title IX and its regulations specifically state that a school receiving federal funds can “provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex” without putting that funding at risk. The lawsuit also explains that the DOE did not comply with the Administrative Procedure Act when it adopted its rules.

The lawsuit asks the court to halt the school district’s policy that opens up restrooms and changing areas to the opposite sex, declare the policy and the district’s agreement with the DOE to be unconstitutional and illegal under both federal and Illinois law, and invalidate the DOE’s rule that illegitimately redefines “sex” in Title IX.


See also …

Alliance Defending Freedom 51 families sue feds, Chicago-area school district for violating student privacy

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