Federal Court Hears Arguments on Berks County School's Practice Supporting Transgender Students

August 11, 2017
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EASTON, Pa. – A federal court in Easton, Pennsylvania, will hear arguments today in support of and against a Berks County school district’s practice of recognizing and affirming its students’ gender identity. The practice at Boyertown Area School District has included allowing transgender students to use facilities, such as locker rooms and restrooms, consistent with their gender identity, and the school has been sued by four students who seek to halt the practice.

Lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania, the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, and the law firm of Cozen O’Connor are defending the district’s practice on behalf of the Pennsylvania Youth Congress, a coalition of LGBTQ youth leaders and youth organizations, including the Boyertown GSA, whose members include transgender students who would be harmed by the lawsuit.

The following can be attributed to Mary Catherine Roper, deputy legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania:

“The stakes in this litigation are high for transgender students at Boyertown. The district’s practice gives them the opportunity to attend school in a respectful and affirming environment.

“The challenges that teens face are enhanced for transgender students, who are coming to grips with their gender identity. If the district’s practice is overturned, it will be disruptive to their ability to maximize their education.”

The following can be attributed to Ria Tabacco Mar, staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project:

“No court has granted an injunction like the one sought by the plaintiffs. Those who brought this lawsuit must show that a ruling in their favor will do more good than harm. But such a ruling would greatly harm transgender students. We are hopeful that the court will agree.”

A ruling on the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction is expected before the district’s students return to school on August 28.

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