SCOTUS Sides With Boyertown



Following a two year long legal fight, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to review an appeal to Doe v. Boyertown School District, upholding the District’s policy.

On Tuesday morning the Supreme Court of the United States let stand the previous ruling of a Third Circuit Court, in favor of Boyertown Area School District and upholding the district’s transgender policy of allowing students to use the facilities that match the gender they identify with.

The lawsuit of Doe v. Boyertown School District began over two years ago in March 2017, following a student’s complaint of seeing a transgender student in the locker room. After a demand letter made by the student’s family, the family filed a lawsuit against the school district, citing that their child had experienced “confusion, embarrassment, humiliation, and loss of dignity”.

With news coverage of the lawsuit, it gained national attention, bringing the ACLU to file a motion to intervene in favor of Boyertown.

Within the motion to intervene, then-BASH-senior Aidan DeStefano submitted statements to defend the transgender policy of the school.

“I cannot imagine what it would mean to be told I could no longer use the male restrooms and lockers,” Aidan stated in the motion. “It would be devastating for my own school to not recognize me as the man I am (even if it was only because of a court order) and to have to “go backward” in my transition.”

Boyertown was also supported by the Pennsylvania Youth Congress Foundation during the lawsuit. Jason Goodman, Executive Director and President of the Board, stated, “PYC is dedicated to empowering LGBTQ youth to advocate for their own interests, individually and through youth-led groups and organizations.”

At the district court level, the court sided with Boyertown’s policy and denied the plaintiffs motion for a preliminary injunction as they “have not shown that they are likely to succeed on the merits on any of their causes of action and they have failed to show irreparable harm.” The plaintiffs then appealed to the Third Circuit.

During the appeals process Boyertown gained support from many different organizations, receiving Amicus Briefs in court from the American Academy of Pediatrics, et al, the Anti-Defamation League, the National PTA, several transgender students, the National Education Association, school administrators from 30 states as well as D.C., PFLAG, et al, and Women’s Law Project, et al.  The appeals court upheld the districts policy.

Plaintiffs appealed then to the Supreme Court, which declined to review the appeals court decision, letting it stand.

If the Supreme Court had reviewed the ruling, the Daily Beast reports, it would have been the first time it heard a case directly addressing transgender people’s rights. As it stands, Boyertown’s policy of allowing students to use facilities matching the gender they identify with remains after a two year long legal fight.