PASCO COUNTY, FLORIDA — Pasco County Schools have decided to implement a bathroom policy that requires students to use the bathroom of their biological sex assigned at birth. This means that those identifying as transgender and similar cannot use facilities based on their self-identification.
The policy change was announced by Pasco Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning during a school board meeting on January 3, where he brought up a December 30, 2022 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
In its decision, the federal court overturned a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, stating that a bathroom policy based on biological sex neither violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause nor Title XI of the Education Amendments Act.
SPLIT ALONG PARTY LINES
“Whether Title IX should be amended to equate ‘gender identity’ and ‘transgender status’ with ‘sex’ should be left to Congress—not the courts,” the judges write in their ruling. The appeals court judges were split along party lines – 7 to 4 – in the decision.
Judge Barbara Lago decided to write a longer motivation to why she is “specially concurring” with the ruling – arguing that a decision to let gender identification decide bathroom policy would spill out to other areas of life:
“Affirming the district court’s order and adopting Adams’s definition of ‘sex’ under Title IX to include ‘gender identity’ or ‘transgender status’ would have had repercussions far beyond the bathroom door. There simply is no limiting principle to cabin that definition of ‘sex’ to the regulatory carve-out for bathrooms under Title IX, as opposed to the regulatory carve-out for sports or, for that matter, to the statutory and regulatory carve-outs for living facilities, showers, and locker rooms,” Judge Lago stated.
At the school board meeting, Superintendent Browning stated that any student who wants to use an alternative restroom will be able to seek an accommodation to use a private restroom at their school, according to Fox 13 Tampa Bay.