In an unbelievable invasion of privacy, a Pennsylvania school district told a teenage boy that if a teenage girl is in the locker room with him, he should “tolerate” undressing in front of her and make it as “natural” as possible.
The boy, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom and Independence Law Center, is filing suit against the Boyertown Area School District, its superintendent, and the principal and assistant principal of Boyertown Area High School, accusing them of shaming him, violating his personal privacy, and sexually harassing him.
At the end of October 2016, the lawsuit alleges, the boy began changing in the locker room for physical education class. He was standing in his underwear about to put his gym clothes on when he realized there was a member of the opposite sex changing with him in the locker room, only wearing shorts and a bra.
The boy and several classmates reported the incident to the assistant principal, Dr. E. Wayne Foley. The lawsuit asserts, “Dr. Foley indicated that the legality was up in the air but that students who mentally identify themselves with the opposite sex could choose the locker room and bathroom to use, and physical sex did not matter.”
When the boy asked if there was anything that could be done to protect him from the situation, Foley told him to “tolerate” it and make it as “natural” as he possibly could, according to the lawsuit. Foley allegedly reiterated that the boy should make it “natural” as the boy exited.
The lawsuit points out that neither the principal nor the assistant principal had notified the boy’s parents that the school district permitted students of one sex to use the locker rooms and bathrooms of students of the opposite sex.
A few days after the incident, the boy’s parents met with Foley, who allegedly told them that the school district was “all-inclusive” and the boy could change in the nurse’s office if he wished. The parents then met with the principal, Dr. Brett Cooper, who also reportedly told them their son could use the nurse’s office.
It gets worse.
The lawsuit alleges that the school district then informed the principal at the Vo-Tech school, Berks Career and Technology School-Oley Campus, where the boy went to school half of the day, that the boy had seen Foley about the matter. That prompted the principal at Vo-Tech to pull the boy out of class and allegedly tell him he “wanted to make sure none of that negativity was going to happen at his school.”
Next, the boy’s parents met with the superintendent of the school district, Dr. Richard Faidley. Faidley allegedly told them if their son was uncomfortable with the situation or with using the nurse’s office, then he could be home-schooled instead of attending Boyertown.
ILC attorney Randall Wenger stated:
No school should rob any student of this legally protected personal privacy. We trust that our children won’t be forced into emotionally vulnerable situations like this when they are in the care of our schools because it’s a school’s duty to protect and respect the bodily privacy and dignity of all students.”
The lawsuit asserts, “The District’s directive to Joel Doe was that he must change with students of the opposite sex, and make it as natural as possible, and that anything less would be intolerant and bullying against students who profess a gender identity with the opposite sex.”