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Letter to Minnesota School Districts: You Have the Freedom to Protect Privacy of ALL Students

Minnesota’s School Safety Technical Assistance Council (SSTAC) recently adopted A Toolkit for Ensuring Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students.

Try saying that three times fast.

Essentially, the toolkit’s recommendations would open private spaces such as school locker rooms, shower facilities, overnight accommodations, and restrooms to students of the opposite sex if they claim to identify that way.

But forcing students to undress with someone of the opposite sex violates their privacy. Not to mention that these recommendations undermine parental authority and discriminate against female athletes.

What Minnesota school districts might not know, however, is that SSTAC adopting the toolkit does not mean that schools must open up private spaces to members of the opposite sex. Neither does federal law like Title IX or state law.

The guidance provided in the toolkit is just that – guidance, not law, and bad guidance at that.

Here’s the kicker: If the school districts do implement the toolkit’s recommendations, they will risk violating the fundamental rights of students and parents.

Last year, Alliance Defending Freedom challenged the policies of one Minnesota school district, which were similar to what the toolkit recommends. In response to the lawsuit, the school district revised their policies to respect the privacy, safety, and dignity of ALL students in intimate changing areas. As a result, the students and parents ADF was representing voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit.

If that school district were to adopt the toolkit’s recommendations, it would be right back where it started – one step forward, two steps back. So the toolkit is actually doing these school districts a disservice by “guiding” them toward adopting policies that conflict with already-established law and are grounded in rather dubious science.

That’s why ADF has partnered with the North Star Law and Policy Center to send out letters to all Minnesota school districts, letting them know that they have the right to craft local policies that safeguard the privacy and safety of all students.

There are commonsense and compassionate solutions available that respect the privacy of all students, while also respecting parental authority. And ADF and the North Star Law and Policy Center have included a model Student Physical Privacy Policy with these letters to help these school districts make the best decisions for all of their students.

After all, student privacy should never be sacrificed to further a political agenda. And it is the school districts’ duty to protect the privacy of all of their students, not just a few.

To learn more about what ADF is doing to defend student privacy, visit the link below.
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Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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