Nationwide Backing for Idaho's School Privacy Law

Twenty-four U.S. states, along with several advocacy groups, are supporting Idaho's law aimed at protecting the safety of students in public school facilities such as locker rooms, showers, restrooms, and during overnight stays. This widespread support was expressed through numerous friend-of-the-court briefs submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in the case of Roe v. Critchfield.

Idaho's Firm Stance on Student Privacy

Idaho's stance was addressed by Attorney General Raúl Labrador and representatives from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). They filed a brief with the 9th Circuit, reinforcing a district court decision that upholds the state's rights to maintain sex-specific facilities in K-12 public schools, while also providing single-use facilities.

Attorney General Labrador emphasized the state's commitment to student welfare, stating, "Idaho’s law affirms every student’s dignity and worth by protecting their privacy and safety in intimate spaces. Our law reflects common sense and biological reality while being sensitive and accommodating to each unique student." He further stressed the state board of education's role in upholding these values while ensuring a quality education for Idaho's children.

Obed Hernandez - Unspalsh
Obed Hernandez - Unsplash

Advocacy Group's Perspective on Gender-Specific Facilities

ADF Senior Counsel John Bursch echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the biological differences between genders and the importance of respecting them in school environments. "Girls and boys each deserve a private space to shower, undress, use the restroom, and sleep, and Idaho’s law respects all students’ need for privacy, safety, and dignity," Bursch remarked. You can read more about Idaho's stance in this press release from

Legal Challenges and Support

The law faced opposition from activists who sued Idaho State Superintendent Debbie Critchfield and the state board of education. They argued against the enforcement of sex-specific facilities, leading to a legal battle that culminated in a lower court upholding Idaho's law. Despite this, the 9th Circuit has temporarily halted the law's enforcement pending an appeal.

Zhang Kenny - Unsplash
Zhang Kenny - Unsplash

The Argument for Student Safety and Privacy

A key argument in the brief led by Indiana and Alabama, which was supported by 22 other states, focused on the importance of preserving privacy and safety, particularly for female students. The brief stated, "Laws like Idaho’s S.B. 1100 reflect the long-held recognition that forcing boys and girls to share bathrooms, showers, and hotel rooms would compromise the privacy, security, and safety of students, especially girls." It further argued that maintaining separate facilities does not violate the Equal Protection Clause, citing student privacy as a legitimate justification for the law.

The case continues to garner attention as it progresses through the legal system, highlighting the complex balance between individual rights and collective welfare in educational settings.

Civil discussion and debate is welcome

I welcome your comments and thoughts on these issues. Whether we agree or not doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be able to share our differences and openly debate important topics like student welfare and safety. So, I ask what are your thoughts? Do you think Idaho is doing the right thing by protecting our students, particularly girls, by not forcing them to shower with biological males? Do you think that providing students with single-use facilities does enough to accommodate those who would choose to use them?

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Gallery Credit: Stacker

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