Appeals board upholds high school bathroom policy for transgender teen
September 26, 2014 at 4:08 AM EDT - Updated July 21 at 2:51 AM
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A transgender teenager, who was born male but identifies as a female, can continue to use a women's restroom and locker room at a Jefferson County Public School.
In a 5-to-1 vote, an appeal board upheld Atherton High School's nondiscrimination policy Thursday, which states the school must accept the gender identity each student asserts and shouldn't discriminate on the use of school space on the basis of gender identity nor gender expression.
The current JCPS policy allows individual schools to set their own policies on the use of facilities.
The appeals board is composed of three teachers appointed by the president of the Jefferson County Teachers Association, two parents appointed by the 15th District PTA and a school administrator appointed by the president of the Jefferson County Association of School Administrators.
Attorney Clint Elliott argued allowing transgender students to use the restroom of their choice violates other students' right to privacy.
"So students get to choose the restroom or locker room they use without any apparent monitor or control measures in place under the policy and no control to assure safety or privacy," Elliott said.
Elliott, who represented several Atherton students and parents who opposed the policy, asserted the nondiscrimination language does not reflect federal statutes.
"Congress has not determined to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to expressly add gender identity or to open bathrooms to the opposite sex as a civil right," Elliott said.
Atherton's principal defended the school's site-based decision making council's resolution to add gender identity to its non-discrimination policy.
"Is the question really about privacy or is it about comfort? Just because someone does not feel comfortable, doesn't mean their rights are being violated. Our policy recognizes gender identity as a real issue that deserves accommodation within a school system," Atherton Principal Dr. Tom Aberli said.
After an executive session, the appeals board voted to dismiss an appeal to Atherton's policy.
When asked how this decision affects all JCPS schools, JCPS spokesperson Dr. Shawna Stenton replied, "That would not be anything I could determine."