PITTSBURGH, Pa. — A school district in Pennsylvania has asked a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its new resolution that students should use the restroom that correlates with their biological gender.
“Plaintiffs have failed to state a Title IX Claim against the district upon which relief can be granted, and thus said claim should be dismissed with prejudice,” attorneys for the Pine-Richland School District wrote in a brief submitted on Monday.
“The term ‘sex,’ as codified into the Title IX statute and accompanying regulations, refers to a fixed, binary and genetically-determined sex, based on the nature of human reproduction and the irrefutable fact that we are a species of males and females,” they argued. “Title IX also permits separate facilities to be maintained for the sexes.”
As previously reported, in September, the district overturned its longstanding practice of allowing students to use the restroom that corresponds with their “gender identity.”
“This resolution agreed to by a majority of the board of directors of the Pine-Richland School District indicates our support to return to the long-standing practice of providing sex-specific facility usage,” a resolution, passed 5-4, read. “All students will have the choice of using either the facilities that correspond to their biological sex or unisex facilities. This practice will remain in place until such time that a policy may be developed and approved.”
Students could also use the unisex restrooms or the restroom in the nurse’s office.
But following the move, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of three students—Jacob Evancho, who goes by the name Juliet, Erik Ridenour, who goes by the name Elissa, and a third student who has only identified themselves as A.S.—stating that the plan violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as well as the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Evancho, who is the brother of youth singing sensation Jackie Evancho, began identifying as a girl last year.
The district filed for a dismissal of the suit on Monday, stating that Lamba Legal is relying on the interpretation of the Obama administration, which it asserted is flawed and “contravenes congressional intent as related to Title IX and was issued by the DOE and DOJ without appropriate notice and comment rule-making as required by the Administrative Procedures Act.”
Lambda Legal disagreed with the district’s view on what determines a person’s sex, stating that it is primarily based on what the individual feels.
“The hard-line stance taken today by the Pine-Richland School District show how far the school district has strayed from its mission to educate and serve all its students,” attorney Omar Gonzalez-Pagan said in a statement.
“A person’s sex is determined by multiple factors, including hormones, external and internal morphological features, external and internal reproductive organs, chromosomes and gender identity,” he said. “Gender identity—a person’s internal sense of their own gender—is the primary factor in determining a person’s sex.”
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to take up the issue of the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title IX next year.