Missouri Family E-News

September 8, 2015

Privacy Rules Proposed for Missouri Public Schools

The Missouri Family Policy Council is recommending that Missouri school districts adopt a model policy protecting the privacy rights of elementary, middle, and high school-age students.

The recommendation comes on the heels of a recent controversy in the Hillsboro R-3 School District in Jefferson County.  That school district is embroiled in a showdown with parents over a decision to allow a male student to use the girls' locker room at Hillsboro High School.

The model policy has been developed by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal interest firm that advocates for religious liberty in public and private settings.

"Schools have a duty to protect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students," says ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco.  "No child should be forced into an intimate setting--like a bathroom or locker room--with a child of the opposite sex."

The policy states that "in any school setting where students may be in a state of undress with other students, school personnel shall provide separate, private areas designated for use by students based on their sex."

The policy provides specific accommodations for gender-confused students who claim that their gender is different from their true sex.

In such cases, students would be provided access to single-stall restrooms, uni-sex restrooms, or controlled use of an employee restroom, locker room, or shower.

In no circumstances would gender-confused students be allowed access to facilities designated for use by the opposite sex.

Any student who desires greater privacy would be able to request alternative facilities which would preserve their personal dignity and safety free from harassment or intimidation.

"Our recommended policy demonstrates that schools can accommodate the desires of a small number of students without compromising the rights of other children and their parents,"  Tedesco says.

"Any privacy and safety policy should respect all children because every child matters.  No policy should be tailored to a few students at the expense of all the others."

You can access a copy of the Student Physical Privacy Policy by using this link:
Student Privacy Policy  


Listen to the Broadcast Version of the Jeff City Update online at 

Female Students
Lose Privacy in
Hillsboro Schools
Parents of female students in the Hillsboro School District are up in arms over a decision by school administrators to grant a male student access to their teenage daughters' high school locker room.

The controversy erupted with the start of the new school year in the Hillsboro R-3 School District.  The furor surrounds a physical education class for high school freshmen and sophomores called "Coed Recreational Games."  For unexplained reasons, a male senior student who claims to be "transgendered" was assigned to the class.

On the second day of school the male student, who goes by the name Lila Perry*, was also assigned a locker in the girls locker room.  Perry, who wears skirts and dresses but still retains all the anatomy of a male, was given permission to change clothes in the presence of the freshmen and sophomore girls.  He had been offered a gender-neutral restroom to change by school officials, but turned it down, saying he "did not want to feel segregated out."

When girls shared their discomfort with the situation with teachers and principals, they were advised that they could change in another locker room.  However, this offer was only extended when and if girls made known they were uncomfortable with the presence of a teenage boy while they were dressing and undressing.

Outraged parents confronted school officials about the invasion of their daughters' privacy and why they had not been notified .  Dr. Aaron Cornman, Superintendent of the Hillsboro R-3 Schools, stated that had he notified parents of the situation, he would have violated Perry's "privacy rights."  Cornman has provided no explanation as to why he is unconcerned about the raw breach of the privacy rights of the female high school students in question.

Last week, approximately 150 students staged a walkout to express their support for the privacy concerns of their female classmates.  A large crowd of parents attended a recent school board meeting to share their displeasure, and yet others held a peaceful gathering outside the high school where they prayed for a change in the school district's position.  One parent held a sign which read "Girls' Rights Matter."

As expected, the ultraliberal print and broadcast media have used the occasion to overtly campaign for the "rights of the transgender community."  Doug Moore, the homosexual rights advocate for the Post-Dispatch, and other "reporters" have repeatedly falsely described Perry as a "she," despite the fact that Perry is unquestionably a "he." 

Several news accounts portrayed the student walkout as an angry protest against Perry, when in actuality it was a quiet show of support for the female physical education students.  The hostility has come from Perry, who has accused his fellow students of "pure and simple bigotry."  He has compared his "plight" with that of African-Americans who in years past were not allowed to share restrooms with Caucasians.

Dr. Cornman says that the school district's policy is the result of "guidance" from the federal Office of Civil Rights, and that failure to comply could result in the loss of federal funding.  School administrators have acknowledged that the policy they are following is one recommended by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The Alliance Defending Freedom has sent a letter to Hillsboro School Board members making clear that the legal advice they are receiving from their attorneys is in error.  While school administrators are clearly intimidated by the threat of a lawsuit from the ACLU, attorneys for ADF assert that the school district is actually exposing itself to legal liability from parents for violating students' rights to bodily privacy.

"Protecting students from inappropriate exposure to the opposite sex is not only perfectly legal, it's a school district's duty," says ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp.  "Letting boys into girls' locker rooms and restrooms is an invasion of privacy and a threat to student safety."
The ADF memo spells out that no federal law requires public schools to open sex-specific restrooms, showers, and changing areas to opposite sex students.  In fact, Title IX federal anti-discrimination regulations permit schools to "provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex."

The ADF letter also points out that no federal court has ever interpreted Title IX to compel schools to provide students access to the restrooms and changing areas of the opposite sex.  Even the Ninth District Court of Appeals, the most liberal federal appellate court, has rejected such reasoning.

In a 2009 case, the Ninth Circuit upheld a community college policy maintaining sex-specific restrooms, saying it was justified for "safety reasons."  In a previous case, the Ninth Circuit stated that "shielding one's unclothed figure from the view of strangers, particularly strangers of the opposite sex, is impelled by elementary self-respect and personal dignity."

The Alliance Defending Freedom has provided a model "Student Physical Privacy Policy" to the Hillsboro School Board, and parents are pressing their elected school board members to replace the ACLU policy with the version recommended by ADF.  Should the school district adopt the policy proposed by ADF, their attorneys have pledged to represent the school district free of charge in any potential litigation.

In the meantime, Dr. Cornman has issued a politically correct declaration that "we will promote tolerance and acceptance of all students that attend our district while not tolerating bullying/harassing behaviors of any type in any form."  Apparently, Dr. Cornman does not view the violation of the personal privacy rights of teenage girls as a form of harassment.  His behavior is all the more inexplicable in that Cornman is a Southern Baptist minister.

This isn't the first time that Cornman has found himself in the middle of a controversy in the school district.  Last year, he came under fire from the local teachers union when his wife was added to the school district payroll.  The action occurred shortly after a School Board meeting which Cornman participated in, where the school district's policy on nepotism was mysteriously altered.

*We would normally respect the anonymity of a student who desires to preserve his privacy from the public eye.  However, Perry has made clear that he is eager to be the face of the "transgender movement" by appearing on numerous television interviews.  

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