Over the past ten years, courts have been asked to weigh in on whether students’ rights are violated when school policies prohibit them from using restrooms that align with their gender identities. In the vast majority of legal cases, courts have rendered decisions favorable for the student. In December 2022, however, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a school district’s policy prohibiting transgender students from using a restroom that matched their gender identity did not violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 nor the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Eleventh Circuit’s en banc decision contradicts other federal circuit courts that have examined this issue. It has created a circuit split, potentially inviting U.S. Supreme Court review, if the student-plaintiff appeals.
This article first identifies and briefly examines several of the court decisions that have addressed this issue. The article then discusses how a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision aligns with the topic, and how the U.S. Department of Education has interpreted Title IX as it relates to this issue. This article concludes with an analysis of the Eleventh Circuit’s recent decision, and discusses the decision’s implications for students in K-12 public schools. The findings should be helpful to policy makers, lawyers, school officials, students, families, and scholars as this is the first article to highlight the evolution most of the litigation in this area.
"A Conflict in the Courts: An Update on School Restroom Policies,"
Child and Family Law Journal: Vol. 11:
1, Article 1.
Available at: https://lawpublications.barry.edu/cflj/vol11/iss1/1