LAND O' LAKES, FL. - A Pine View Middle School Student was arrested on Tuesday after authorities found he was carrying a gun in school

Pasco County Public Schools Go With The Appellate Court Flow On Bathroom Policy

 Pasco County Public Schools will re-establish a policy of students using the bathroom of their biological sex, and not their stated or chosen gender.
Pine View Middle School In Land O’ Lakes, Pasco County (File Photo)

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. – Pasco County Public Schools will re-establish a policy of students using the bathroom of their biological sex, and not their stated or chosen gender.

Superintendent Kurt Browning attributed the decision to a recent federal appeals court ruling, the Florida The Free Press reported on Wednesday.

In that decision, handed down last week, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the St. Johns County school district’s policy mandating that a transgender boy use either a gender-neutral bathroom or the girls’ restroom.

“This case involves the unremarkable—and nearly universal—practice of separating school bathrooms based on biological sex,” a practice that does not violate the U.S. Constitution, the majority said in its 7-4 opinion.

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“The school board’s bathroom policy is clearly related to — indeed, is almost a mirror of — its objective of protecting the privacy interests of students to use the bathroom away from the opposite sex and to shield their bodies from the opposite sex in the bathroom, which, like a locker room or shower facility, is one of the spaces in a school where such bodily exposure is most likely to occur,” the court added.

The decision sprang from a 2015 decision by St. Johns County not to require transgender students to use the bathroom of their birth sex. But in 2017, boy students who went to school with the plaintiff, Drew Adams, a biological girl, complained about Adams using the boys’ restroom.

Court records say that at the time of the controversy, five of the 2,450 students in Adams’ high school were transgender.

Following the complaints, the school district reneged on its bathroom policy, and Adam sued. Initially, Adams won, but the school district prevailed on appeal.

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“As I’ve stated on many occasions with this board and publicly, I was going to do what I said I was going to do, which is follow the law,” Browning said at Tuesday’s meeting when the shift was announced.

Browning also told reporters afterward, “It would be disingenuous of us to use the St. Johns case for the last five years and not use the 11th Circuit case as the basis of our decision-making.”

“I realize that this change in practice may not sit well with some students and/or adults, but it is important to note that, as a district, we are required to abide by the laws of the State of Florida and the United States,” Browning said in an email to principals in the district. “This change in District practice and procedure does both.”

Transgender students in Pasco may request to use a gender-neutral restroom.

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