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Federal judge rules Bethel schools' bathroom policy for transgender students is constitutional

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A group of conservative parents in Tipp City failed to convince a federal judge this week that the Bethel Local School district’s bathroom policy was unconstitutional.

The rejected lawsuit came after the district decided last year to let students use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

The group of parents has the option to appeal the ruling, but it’s unclear whether they will do so.

The group of parents seeking to change the district’s bathroom policy was made up of both Christians and Muslims. They argue that their children sharing a bathroom with a transgender person violates their religious beliefs.

David Carey with the ACLU of Ohio said that’s not how his organization or the judge saw it.

“It's good to have a win in this area. It's good to have a reaffirmation that the law protects all people, and that the Constitution protects all people and that it is not to be used in the way that the plaintiffs were trying to use it here essentially as a vehicle for discrimination,” Carey said.

Neither the parents’ lawyers nor members of the Bethel school board immediately responded to a request for comment.

Chris Welter is an Environmental Reporter at WYSO through Report for America. In 2017, he completed the radio training program at WYSO's Eichelberger Center for Community Voices. Prior to joining the team at WYSO, he did boots-on-the-ground conservation work and policy research on land-use issues in southwest Ohio as a Miller Fellow with the Tecumseh Land Trust.