NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla — Pasco school leaders say the Supreme Court’s decision not to take up a challenge to a Pennsylvania school district's policy allowing transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding with their gender identity affirms the district’s own processes are in line with the law.
The justices on Tuesday rejected an appeal from students arguing it was a violation of their right to privacy to allow transgender students to use the same facilities.
The court's order leaves in a place a federal appeals court ruling that held that the Boyertown School District, about 45 miles northeast of Philadelphia, could continue to allow transgender students the choice of what facilities to use.
In response, the ACLU tweeted "trans students are not a threat."
The very issue has been at the center of an ongoing debate in Pasco schools for months. It stems from an incident last fall when a physical education teacher at Chasco Middle School objected to a female student who identifies as a male using the boys’ locker room.
Large groups of parents, mostly in opposition, have packed school board meetings for several months, demanding a change in policy. But district leaders have shown no signs of straying from the current protocol.
The Pasco school district, like others in the state, doesn’t have a set policy on dealing with transgender students, instead relying on federal standards and court precedents to address issues on a case-by-case basis.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to leave the Pennsylvania district’s transgender procedure in place affirms that our processes are in line with the law,” district spokesperson Linda Cobb told 10News by email Tuesday. “ We do not plan to make any changes to the ‘Best Practices’ guidance currently used in Pasco County Schools.”
Cobb reiterated the district has been keeping a watchful eye on cases working through the courts.
Glori Anna Kirk, a mother who has been an outspoken opponent of the policy, balked at the district’s response.
“A denial to hear the case does not mean that the Supreme Court affirmed the Third Circuit transgender bathroom decision,” Kirk told 10News. “It definitely does not make it ‘law of the land.’”
Heather St. Amand, the mother of a transgender student in the district, said she was pleased to hear the district standing firm in its policy.
"They have so far made the right decisions in affirming these kids and treating them with respect for how they identify," she said.
Under the Obama administration, guidance had been issued to school districts recommending schools allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity.
The Trump administration withdrew that guidance at the start of the year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
What other people are reading right now:
- Ariana Grande postpones Tampa concert due to illness
- Man went on 'rampage' at bar, then tried to escape hospital, deputies say
- Mom gives birth in car with three crying kids in back seat (Sensitive video; strong language)
- Necklace filled with unknown mother's ashes found at Siesta Key
- Florida woman's love for Disney turns into the most magical wedding