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Supreme Court rejects challenge to Oregon school district's bathroom policy for transgender students

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Washington — The Supreme Court on Monday turned away a challenge brought by Oregon parents to a school district's policy allowing transgender students to use bathroom facilities that match their gender identity.

The dispute was brought by a group of parents who argued the policy enacted by Dallas School District No. 2 in Dallas, Oregon, and left in place by lower courts violated other students' privacy rights. The policy was created after a transgender boy sought to use the boy's bathroom and locker room at his high school until he graduated. The school district allowed the student to do so over the objections of some parents.

In November 2017, the parents, who formed the group Parents for Privacy, sued the school district over its decision, alleging violations of the 14th and First Amendments, as well as Title IX. But the district court dismissed the lawsuit, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's decision, upholding the policy.

The parents appealed the 9th Circuit's decision to the Supreme Court, arguing the justices have "the opportunity to untie a Gordian knot of conflicting constitutional and statutory rights."

"The District's directive interferes with parents' rights to direct the upbringing of their children, schoolchildren's rights to bodily privacy, parents' and children's rights to free exercise of religion, and children's rights to be free from hostile educational environments under Title IX," the parents argued in a filing with the Supreme Court, adding that "stakes in this case are significant" for public school parents and their children.

But lawyers for the Dallas School District argued the claims raised by the parents were "misconceived" and flawed. They also argued the case was moot, since the student whose request sparked the lawsuit has since graduated. 

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