Parents and students have filed a lawsuit against their Ohio school district over its policy allowing students to use bathrooms matching their stated gender identity.
Bethel Local School District in Tipp City instituted the policy in January, resulting in students being allowed to use facilities opposite of their biological sex.
Now, with the assistance of America First Legal, a group of parents and students have filed a lawsuit against the board, several board members, and the superintendent alleging violations of Title IX, Ohio law, and the Constitution.
The policy was proposed in September 2021. The lawsuit alleges that between its proposition and its adoption in January 2022, “there was no public discussion, deliberation, or voting of any kind related to intimate facility use being based on gender identity instead of biological sex.”
In response to the new policy, Muslim community members donated resources for the purpose of the construction of a gender-neutral restroom for transgender students near the other restrooms. According to the lawsuit, Bethel accepted the money and built the restroom, but didn’t change the policy allowing transgender students to use the restrooms of their choice.
According to the complaint, some children are uncomfortable with the new policy to the point of avoiding using the restrooms at school if possible.
The lawsuit claims the school board is denying religious parents’ and students’ rights to equal protection “by refusing to provide separate communal intimate facilities for members of the opposite biological sex while providing communal intimate facilities based on gender identity for transgender students.”
The school board’s anti-discrimination policy protects several classes, including both religion and gender identity. The complaint claims the board is treating religious students worse than transgender students.
Several Bethel parents have requested information from the board pertaining to the district’s gender rules, including those regarding restrooms, overnight trips and how Bethel “is addressing the promotion of LGBTQ+ beliefs among students.” The complaint claims the school board has not answered, which it says obstructs parental rights to make decisions regarding whether their children should be in public school.
“School districts across the country – the leadership of which have been captured by woke ideologues and bureaucrats – are actively destroying fundamental rights in ways that would have been unthinkable just ten years ago,” reads a statement from America First Legal Vice-President Gene Hamilton.
“Boys are boys, girls are girls, and every student has the right to privacy in intimate spaces that have been enjoyed by every single generation of students before them,” Hamilton said. “We are proud to fight for our clients in this important area.”