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Constitutional Rights & the Public’s Health

Parents for Privacy v. Barr

Overview

Parents for Privacy v. Barr (U.S. Court of Appeals – Ninth Circuit, Feb. 2, 2020): The Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by parents and students who alleged a school district’s policy that permits students to use facilities that match their gender identity violated the constitution and federal civil rights protections under Title IX. The district developed the policy (which applies to restroom, locker room, and shower facilities) to avoid negative health effects that transgender students experience from being unable to use facilities matching their gender identity. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s ruling that the plaintiffs’ claims were non-cognizable. The Fourteenth Amendment’s right to privacy does not include a broad right to be protected against all risk of intimate exposure to or by a transgender individual. Additionally, the right to direct the education of one’s children does not include a right to determine a district’s facility use policies. As to the Title IX claim alleging the policy created a sexually harassing environment, a transgender student’s normal use of facilities alone does not constitute actionable “harassment” even if some students felt subjectively harassed. The court also rejected the plaintiffs’ First Amendment free exercise of religion claim. Read the decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – March 17, 2020.

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