On January 16, 2024, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) declined to consider a case on involving an Indiana school district’s policies banning transgender students from using bathrooms that align with their gender identities. It was hoped that SCOTUS would settle the ongoing controversy over the use of student restrooms by transgender students. Presently, confusion over conflicting lower court decisions have created an unsettling atmosphere with regard to whether Title IX allows students to access restroom facilities that differ from their sex assigned at birth. In fact, appellate court decisions are inconsistent, and school districts are adopting policies that vary across the country according to state and local laws.
According to a report by K12 Dive, in deciding not to hear the case, SCOTUS let stand an August 2023 decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville, IN and the student’s former principal likely violated Title IX by barring transgender students from bathrooms aligning with their gender identities.
The Metropolitan School District v. A.C. case is not the first of its kind to appear before SCOTUS. In fact, in 2020 SCOTUS decided in the landmark case Bostock v. Clayton County that LGBTQ+ discrimination falls under unlawful sex discrimination in the workplace. However, in Bostock SCOTUS specifically declined to address transgender policies in schools.
Source: K12 Dive and the SCOTUS Blog.