Local school district reacts to Supreme Court’s decision not to hear transgender bathroom case

PENNSYLVANIA -- The U.S. Supreme Court announced it won’t hear the case on a Berks County School District’s policy allowing transgender students to use bathrooms they identify with.

Some students at Boyertown Area Senior High School sued alleging the policy violates their privacy rights and constitutes sexual harassment in violation of title 9, a federal law that bars discrimination based on sex in educational institutions that receive federal funds.

“This is another brick in the wall of an important moment in civil rights history," said Jason Landau Goodman, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Youth Congress.“It was absurd, deeply hurtful and way off base, what we are talking about is the existence of transgender people in a public space," he added.

“Historically in segregation in trying to separate people folks have used bathroom or private spaces to say that they are different or that they are other," said Goodman.

Pennsylvania Youth Congress the first and only LGBTQ youth advocacy organization in Harrisburg is involved in the case.

“Now we have some kind of definitive moment where ok, the United States Supreme Court has weighed in and they said these were the correct decisions, we’re not going to touch it," said Goodman.

Goodman says the decision is a win for transgender students.

He is hoping it can be used as an example to other schools in the state.

Just last month Eastern Lancaster County School District board members approved a gender neutral bathroom policy, after a transgender student who identifies as male, requested to use the men’s bathroom.

“We’re trying to protect all students rights," said Hollister.

“While it’s been uncomfortable and difficult at times I do think that the long-term solution have in place is a good one," said Dr. Robert Hollister, Superintendent at Eastern Lancaster County School District. "I don’t think the conversation is over I think this will continue to be a conversation including here, until we are where we need to be and where we want to be," he added.

LGBTQ activists say they hope in the next few years all Pennsylvania schools will have transgender bathroom inclusion.

“It’s the way of the future and I think more school districts will take note not just from Boyertown but from Elanco," said Hollister

Eastern Lancaster School District officials say renovations are set for the fall.

In a statement from Pennsylvania's Human Relations Commission they wrote: "We applaud the Court for recognizing the schools authority to protect the right of its students. We find the decision of the court and the action of school consistent with PHRC’s mission to protect against discrimination based on sex. We support changes in the law that would guarantee those same protections."

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