KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) sent a letter to every school district in Tennessee addressing restroom access. The letter explained a transgender student’s access to restrooms and other facilities segregated by sex is protected by the U.S. Constitution and Title IX, a federal anti-discrimination law.
“Transgender students are a part of our communities and our schools, and they should be treated with dignity and respect just like everyone else,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN executive director. “Schools have a duty to ensure that all students, including transgender children, can learn in a welcoming and harassment-free environment.”
This comes after the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) sent out a letter saying the opposite. ADF told schools there was no law that forced schools to allow transgender students access to restrooms, showers and changing rooms. The letter went on to say schools could be in potential legal trouble for “violating students’ right to bodily privacy.”
“Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to members of the opposite sex is not only legal, it’s an important duty of officials who watch over our children,” said ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “Letting boys into girls’ restrooms and changing areas, for example, is an invasion of privacy and a threat to student safety.”
ACLU-TN also questioned the legality of a bill that’s pending in Tennessee state legislation. If passed, the bill would require students in public schools and colleges to use restrooms and locker rooms that match the sex on their birth certificates.