In a 7-4 decision last week, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the St. Johns County, Fla. school board did not discriminate against transgender students based on sex, nor did it violate federal civil rights law with a policy that required transgender students to use bathrooms matching their biological sex or gender-neutral bathrooms.
The ruling is pertinent for Alabama because Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill with similar standards into law last year. House Bill 322 (HB322) requires public K-12 schools to designate the use of rooms where students may be in various stages of undress based on biological sex. The prohibition applies to bathrooms, showers, changing rooms, locker rooms or any other facility that is limited by gender.
In 2017, Drew Adams, a former student in the St. Johns County, Fla. public school system, sued the district because he wasn't allowed to use the boys' restroom.
Initially, in 2020, a three-judge panel from the appeals court previously sided with Adam. However, the full appeals court decided to take up the case.
Federal Appeals Court Judge Barbara Lagoa wrote in the majority opinion, citing the policy advanced the "governmental objective of protecting students' privacy in school bathrooms."
One GOP lawmaker told 1819 News the ruling was "absolutely" a favorable sign for the 2022 law.
Jeff Poor is the executive editor of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.