ACLU Statement on Federal Appeals Court Upholding School’s Practice of Protecting Transgender Students

May 24, 2018 2:45 pm

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PHILADELPHIA — A federal appeals court today rejected a challenge to the Boyertown, Pennsylvania Area School District’s practices regarding restroom and locker-room access for transgender students. The decision, the second one this week from a federal court regarding transgender students, affirmed a lower-court decision. The ruling came after oral arguments, which were held earlier today.

A formal order from the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit is forthcoming.

The American Civil Liberties Union and cooperating counsel from the law firm Cozen O’Connor intervened in the case on behalf of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, a coalition of LGBTQ youth leaders and youth organizations, including the Boyertown Gay-Straight Alliance.

“The court saw that treating transgender students equally does not harm any other students in the school,” said Ria Tabacco Mar, staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT & HIV Project. “All students should have the opportunity to fully participate in school. Boyertown’s practice makes that possible.”

Aidan DeStefano, a transgender man who graduated from Boyertown Area High School in 2017, said, “Transgender students just want what everyone else wants, to be accepted for who we are. Reversing the practices that have allowed me and other trans kids to thrive at school would have been devastating. I’m glad other transgender students will know the experience of being treated like any other student.”

“This case has always been about ensuring a fair and equal educational environment for transgender students,” said Mary Catherine Roper, deputy legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “We are grateful that the court understood that, and we are especially grateful to our clients who bravely stood up in defense of the school’s practice.”

More information is available here:

The lower court decision which was affirmed today is available here:

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