Federal judge dismisses claims challenging Miami Valley school’s transgender bathroom policy

TIPP CITY — Monday a federal judge dismissed federal claims parents at Bethel Local Schools made against the district’s restroom policy for transgender students.

The ACLU said a federal judge dismissed the plaintiff’s federal claims, effectively terminating the case.

>> PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Bethel Local Schools bathroom policy for transgender students causes controversy

The decision states, “Although parents have the right to make decisions about where to send their children to school, they do not have a constitutional right to revoke a school’s policy on student bathroom usage.”

Ashley Ricker is a Bethel Alum.

“We shouldn’t persecute everyone and tell them that they can’t be comfortable in a bathroom because we think you might do something bad, or because somebody else that kind of is similar to you did something bad,” Ricker said.

But others think differently.

“I have nothing against transgenders. They can do what they want. I just feel boys should use boys’ bathrooms, girls should use girls’ bathrooms,” Bill Applegate said.

The ruling claimed this all started in 2020 when a Bethel Middle School transgender girl felt ostracized for having to use the nurse’s bathroom at school.

The following year, a parent told the school board transgender students should use the bathroom they identify with.

>> RELATED: ACLU of Ohio moves to intervene in federal lawsuit over Bethel Schools transgender bathroom policy

In 2022, the board announced transgender students could use the bathroom of their choice — that brought on state and federal lawsuits against the district.

News Center 7 went to the board of education meeting Monday but Superintendent Matthew W. Chrispin said he could only give a statement.

The statement said in part:

“The landmark decision makes clear the school district acted neutrally towards all students, wanting to follow the law, to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sex, protecting the rights of its transgender students, when it comes to making all campus restrooms accessible to all students in conformity with the student’s gender identity,” said Lynnette Dinkler, legal counsel for the Board of Education, it’s Board Members and Superintendent.

“The Court’s decision makes clear the school board acted to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sex. It equally makes clear the school district never acted in violation of any right owed to disagreeing students and their parents, including the right to freely exercise one’s religion,” Dinkler added.”

News Center 7 reached back out to the district to ask what the ruling means for transgender students who start school at the end of the month, as well as the status of a state lawsuit against the district.

At the time of reporting, we have not heard back.

We will continue following this story and update as new information is available.

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