The petition was considered a long shot because of several complicated threshold issues, including the fact that the policy had been put in place five years ago for one student — referred to as “student A” — who has since graduated from the high school located in Dallas, Oregon. At issue was an individualized plan drawn up specifically for “student A.”
In declining to take up the petition, the justices left in place an appeals court decision earlier this year that held that the school’s policy intended to “avoid discrimination and ensure the safety and well-being of transgender students.”
The Supreme Court’s action Monday was taken without comment or noted dissent.
The American Civil Liberties Union cheered the court’s move on Monday, saying the justices’ message was that “transgender youth are not a threat to other students.”
Despite Monday’s order, the issue isn’t likely to go away soon. Other lower courts have addressed a related question brought by lawyers for transgender students concerning whether Title IX or the Constitution requires schools to allow transgender students to have equal access to bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. A case on that issue is expected to reach the court early next year.
The transgender bathroom debate has long been a flashpoint for the court. Supporters of LGBTQ rights fear that the Supreme Court’s newly solidified 6-3 conservative majority could prove to be hostile toward policies in favor of transgender students.