Court: Pa. School District Can Let Transgender Students Use Bathroom of Choice

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Philadelphia

An appeals court says a Pennsylvania school district can allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room of the sex with which they identify.

A panel of federal appeals judges affirmed a lower court's ruling on Thursday in Philadelphia.

A student at the Boyertown School District and a conservative group brought the lawsuit saying the district was violating his constitutional privacy rights. Three other students joined the lawsuit.

Lawyers for the district say they've made reasonable accommodations so no one is forced to forfeit their privacy. They also say the district faces an equal protection claim if it doesn't continue allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.

In a rare move, the judges made a preliminary ruling from the bench with the idea of issuing a written ruling later Thursday.

In a related case, a federal district judge ruled earlier this week that Title IX and the 14th Amendment's equal-protection clause protect transgender students from discrimination and that a lawsuit by transgender student Gavin Grimm may proceed against his former Virginia school district.

Grimm is the student who was at the forefront of the transgender rights movement when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed in 2016 to take up an appeal by the Gloucester County School District of a lower court ruling in Grimm’s favor. Grimm challenged the school district's policy that barred him from using restrooms corresponding with his gender identity.

The Supreme Court case centered on guidance issued by President Barack Obama's administration interpreting a Title IX regulation to require schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms of their gender identity. When President Donald Trump's administration rescinded that guidance, the Supreme Court sent Grimm's case back to the lower courts.

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