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BOSTON – Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell led a coalition of 16 state attorneys general in an amicus brief supporting schools’ ability to protect the privacy of transgender students who have shared their identity with school staff.
The brief, filed yesterday with the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Foote et al. v. Ludlow School Committee et al., argues in support of the Ludlow, Massachusetts school district’s practice of only sharing information on a student’s transgender or gender-nonconforming identity with the student’s parents if the student consents.
“Schools should be safe for all students, and policies like Ludlow’s protect and support transgender students regardless of their home life,” said AG Campbell. “Especially as LGBTQ+ youth face escalating attacks on their rights and safety, we have a duty to protect the privacy of transgender students when they have the courage to share their identity with a trusted adult.”
The coalition of attorneys general argue in their brief that requiring schools to share information about students’ gender identity with parents against students’ wishes would cause a number of harms, including undermining the trust between students and teachers, creating impracticable administrative burdens for schools, and improperly inserting school officials into private conversations that should be within the realm of the family. The brief calls on the First Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm a lower court decision dismissing the lawsuit against Ludlow Public Schools.
According to research published and aggregated by the Trevor Project and discussed in the attorneys generals’ brief, LGBTQ+ youth who report the presence of trusted adults in their school have higher self-esteem than those without access to a trusted adult, including among those who lack support from their family. And LGBTQ+ youth who found their school and home to be affirming reported lower rates of attempting suicide.
Attorney General Campbell Defends School’s Efforts To Protect Transgender Students’ PrivacyThe amicus brief was led by Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell and joined by the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Hawai‘i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Assistant Attorneys General Adam Cambier of AG Campbell’s Civil Rights Division and Cassandra Thomson of AG Campbell’s Children’s Justice Unit handled this matter for Massachusetts.