14th Amendment, Title IX, Transgender student rights
A transgender boy student claimed that the school board’s bathroom policy that prohibited him from using the bathroom that corresponds with his gender identity amounted to sex discrimination under Title IX. The court found that Department of Education regulation 34 C.F.R. § 106.33 allows schools to provide separate bathroom facilities based upon sex, so long as the bathrooms are comparable. Therefore, the school board policy did not violate Title IX by limiting the student to the bathrooms assigned to his biological sex. The court found that the school board was protecting a constitutional right to bodily privacy while the student wanted to overturn a “tradition of segregating bathrooms based on biological differences between the sexes.”
The court denied the student’s request for an order allowing him to resume using the boys’ restroom while the court ruled on his Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection claim.
While this case does not apply in Illinois, transgender or gender nonconforming student rights is a developing and important area. School officials should continue to monitor cases on this topic.
Shanell M. Bowden, IASB Law Clerk