Eleventh Circuit upholds school’s common sense policy separating bathrooms based on sex

by Elad Hakim

Photo: Alamy

According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, separating bathrooms based on sex does not violate the Constitution or Title IX, thereby reversing a lower court’s ruling.

In the case, Adams v. Sch. Bd. of St. Johns Cty, the St. Johns County School Board in Florida, which has gone to great lengths to accommodate LGBTQ students, prohibited a biological female, Drew Adams, who identifies as a boy, from using a boys’ bathroom at Allen D. Nease High School pursuant to the school’s bathroom use policy.

The school has roughly 40,000 students, approximately 16 of whom identify as transgender. School officials were notified by several students after Adams, who had female bodily anatomy, tried to use the boys’ bathroom. In response, the officials asked Adams to use the girls’ bathroom or a gender-neutral bathroom.  

Adams, through his mother, argued that this conduct and policy were illegal or unconstitutional and sued the school board.

The court disagreed.

According to the court, the United States has a long history of segregating certain spaces, including bathrooms, based on sex without violating the equal protection clause or Title IX. As Judge Barbara Lagoa noted in the opinion, “Separating school bathrooms based on biological sex passes constitutional muster and comports with Title IX.” Lagoa further noted, “Both sides of the classification — biological males and biological females — include transgender students.” In other words, the policy is based on biological sex, not gender identity, and does not violate the law. Finally, Lagoa noted that the school board policy advances the important governmental objective of protecting students’ privacy in school bathrooms.

The court’s decision was split down party lines. Specifically, seven judges appointed by Republican presidents sided with the school district, while four judges appointed by Democrats sided with Adams.

The court’s ruling will likely have a rippling effect in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama.

Mr. Hakim is an attorney and columnist. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, American Thinker, and other online publications. He is also a regular guest on OANN’s Tipping Point, and has appeared on Newsmax, The Jenna Ellis Show, Steadfast and Loyal Podcast with Allen West, The Dave Weinbaum Show, and Real America’s Voice. The views expressed herein are the author’s own and do not constitute legal advice.    

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