Officials in the Boyertown Area School District in Pennsylvania, who have been sued for instituting what amounts to coed showers in their locker rooms, suddenly now are concerned about “student privacy.”
Several students, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Independence Law Center, brought a case against Supt. Richard Faidley and others for allowing both boys and girls to change and shower in the same room under the guise of accommodating “gender orientation.”
The claim was triggered when a high school student identified only as Joel Doe “was exposed involuntarily to an undressed female student while he was changing in his school’s locker room.”
Several other students were added to the case.
The lawsuit charges that without any notice to students or their parents, school officials “secretly opened” their sex-specific restrooms and locker rooms to students of the opposite sex.
The original plaintiff reported he was standing in his underwear about to put on his gym clothes when he suddenly noticed that a female student, also in a state of undress, was in the locker room.
The male student notified school officials, who informed him that they now authorize students who identify themselves as the opposite sex to use whichever locker room they wish. Rather than protect the student’s privacy, officials told him he must “tolerate” the presence of a female and make changing clothes with students of the opposite sex as “natural” as he can.
Now the school district has released a statement to media revealing that its board met recently and “unanimously approved a proposal by an area architectural firm to study how to possibly enhance student privacy in the high school’s locker and restrooms.”
The district statement said the study will focus on the high school but could “result in the establishment of a district-wide prototype for existing and future buildings.”
Faidley noted in the statement that the plan will “evaluate the feasibility of modifying existing, multi-user high school facilities to enhance the level of privacy for all students.”
“This is one case where not being first is a benefit. So the firm will be able to benefit from best practices, and also work affordably, in its planning and design,” he said in the statement.
The statement confirmed that the contract is for less than $9,000 at this point.
Meanwhile, Faidley said, the district “has maintained and continues to maintain that its present policies and practices regarding bath and locker rooms accommodate all students and are in compliance with relevant court rulings.”
The district’s claim is disputed in the court case.
“Jack Jones” was “standing in his underwear about to put his gym clothes on [and] he saw classmates gesturing and looking at something behind him,” the amended complaint says.
“When he turned, he saw a member of the opposite sex in the locker room with him.”
In another instance, “Mary Smith” entered a girls restroom to find a male student washing his hands in the sink, and when she notified school officials they told her “the student could now use restrooms or locker rooms with her since he identifies as a girl.”
She was told there were no other options.
And “Macy Roe” is suffering from “anxiety and stress” because of the coed locker room practice in the district.
ADF said the three additional students joined the suit “because each is at risk of the same type of privacy violation, and two have already confronted members of the opposite sex within restrooms or locker rooms.”
“Schools shouldn’t be robbing students of their legally protected personal privacy,” said Independence Law Center Chief Counsel Randall Wenger.
“The children joining with the original student who filed this suit shouldn’t be forced into emotionally vulnerable situations like this when they are in the care of their schools.
It’s a school’s duty to protect and respect the bodily privacy and dignity of all students. In this case, school officials are clearly ignoring that duty.”
ADF Legal Counsel Kellie Fiedorek argued “laws and customs have long recognized that we shouldn’t have to undress in front of persons of the opposite sex.”
“But now we see that, despite Pennsylvania law requiring schools to provide separate-sex facilities, the privacy violations are even more widespread than we initially suspected,” Fiedorek said.
ILC Senior Counsel Jeremy Samek added: “Respect means protecting the personal privacy of each student, not taking it away. It’s regrettable that still more students must ask a federal judge to ensure that their well-established privacy rights aren’t tossed aside.”
The case in U.S. District Court claims sexual harassment under Title IX and other violations.
The district, after the initial filing was made, doubled down on its advocacy for transgenderism, telling the boy he should have taken advantage of “reasonable and appropriate alternatives” to the boys’ locker room.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs said in a statement they were surprised that the news media was reporting the case accurately.
“It should be concerning to everyone when mainstream media articles accurately reporting the news is so rare that it becomes noteworthy,” ADF said.
“Fortunately, even the mainstream media is finally getting the story right, and as the reporting improves, there is hope for sound solutions that will protect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students.”
Bob Trent, a spokesman for ADF, wrote, “Just as spring brings green to the dull winter world, it seems to be working its magic on mainstream media outlets which finally are digging into the truth about school ‘gender identity’ policies that force students to undress in school locker rooms with members of the opposite sex.”
He pointed out that the Washington Post posted an accurate story that said the student sued alleging the school’s transgender promotions constitute “sexual harassment and a violation of his privacy.”
There also was a Fox News report headlined “School orders boy to ‘tolerate’ undressing with girl and make it ‘natural.’”
He cited an editorial in the Philadelphia Enquirer that “points out the fact that allowing boys in the girls’ locker room, showers, and even overnight accommodations on school trips is not natural.”
President Obama’s administration moved to give gender-confused individuals the right to infringe on the privacy of others in public facilities, such as restrooms and locker rooms. Obama even issued executive orders instructing public schools to accommodate students according to “gender identity” or risk losing federal funds.
But the orders were rescinded by President Trump.