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Judge: School district must let transgender student use the opposite-sex bathroom


“The split among the appellate courts could lead to the Supreme Court weighing in on this topic in the future. For the future of children and women and girls, let’s hope so, as this is an issue that needs clarity — and as soon as possible.”

An 11-year old boy will be allowed to use the girls’ bathroom in violation of a Wisconsin school district’s policy, after a federal judge granted a restraining order.

Quick Facts

On June 26, the Mukwonago Area School District unanimously passed a bathroom policy which requires students to use the bathroom and locker room according to their sex at birth. “The Board believes students should feel safe and secure in the school environment, and the Board respects their right to privacy as it pertains to the use of District facilities,” the policy states.

Students are allowed to request an exception or accommodation which would be reviewed by “a team of District staff on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the student, the student’s parents, the Director of Student Services, the school psychologist, the school counselor, the classroom teacher, the building principal, and any other individuals the District deems appropriate.”

An 11-year old biological boy and his mother filed suit, claiming that the District’s requirement that he use the boy’s bathroom or a gender-neutral bathroom has caused him “severe emotional distress and mental health effects, including thoughts of self-ham, nightmares, embarrassment, social isolation and stigma, and lowered self-esteem.”

On July 6, United States District Court Judge Lynn Adelman ruled in favor of the student and granted a temporary restraining order blocking the school from enforcing the policy. Adelman wrote that the student has identified as a girl since the age of three and has since lived as a girl and used the girls’ restroom since third grade.

Basing his decision on a 2017 ruling by the Seventh Circuit, Adelman wrote,

“I conclude that plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits. There, the Seventh Circuit held that both Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause prevent discrimination against transgender individuals under circumstances identical to those present here.  The court held, among other things, that a ‘policy that requires an individual to use a bathroom that does not conform with his or her gender identity punishes that individual for his or her gender non-conformance.”

The Seventh Circuit also wrote that providing a gender-neutral bathroom was not a sufficient alternative.

Adelman claimed that for the few days left of summer school the student could suffer irreparable harm if the policy was enforced, while also claiming the school would suffer no harm if its policy was blocked.

Adelman did not mention that earlier this year the Eleventh Circuit ruled that protecting students from being seen in a bathroom or locker room by a person of the opposite sex is an important governmental objective. “Understanding why is not difficult—school-age children ‘are still developing, both emotionally and physically,” the court wrote, adding that students “possess a privacy interest when using restrooms or other spaces in which they remove clothes and engage in personal hygiene, and this privacy interest is heightened when persons of the opposite sex are present. Indeed, this privacy interest is heightened yet further when children use communal restrooms.”

Judge Barbara Lagoa, writing for the majority, cited former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall who stated, “a sign that says ‘men only’ looks very different on a bathroom door than a courthouse door.”

She also quoted then-professor Ruth Bader Ginsburg, later a Supreme Court Justice, who said, “The privacy afforded by sex-separated bathrooms has been widely recognized throughout American history and jurisprudence.”

The school district’s superintendent, Joe Koch, responded to Adelman’s decision in a letter to the community, writing,

“The District will continue to defend Policy 5514 in the interest of protecting the safety, privacy, and wellness of all students. We will also continue to keep the community informed as this case proceeds through the litigation process.”

Yet again a court has denied students the real right to privacy in favor of the imagined right to use whatever bathroom or locker room someone wants no matter how much trauma it causes everyone else. This student was provided the choice to use a gender-neutral bathroom, which should be more than enough accommodation. One person’s feelings do not override the well-being of other students.

This school district should be applauded for seeking to protect its students rather than cater to the loud, demanding LGBT lobby, and hopefully they will be successful on appeal.

In fact, the split among the appellate courts could lead to the Supreme Court weighing in on this topic in the future. For the future of children and women and girls, let’s hope so, as this is an issue that needs clarity — as soon as possible.

This ruling should be overturned as it plays along with the charade and horror that transgenderism is inflicting on girls whereby they have to change in front of biological boys and use school showers with them — something all children know is innately wrong from the time they are very young. Ask any three-year-old and they will tell you that boys and girls are different. Swiss Theologian Emil Brunner put it like this:

“Our sexuality penetrates to the deepest metaphysical ground of our personality. As a result, the physical differences between the man and the woman are a parable of psychical and spiritual differences of a more ultimate nature.”

God created people as either male or female, and those distinctions matter — especially in private spaces when people are at their most vulnerable.

Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.

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