Supreme Court refuses to hear case from parents who objected to school’s transgender support plans in DC suburbs

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to review an appeal from a group of parents who claimed their suburban Washington-area school district was hiding transgender support plans involving their children.

Three parents sued the Montgomery Country school district in Maryland over guidelines adopted in 2020 that allow schools to develop support plans for transgender students and “respect the students’ wishes to keep certain information confidential.”

The Supreme Court’s decision, made without explanation, left in place an appeals court ruling that the parents lacked standing to sue because they never established the plans were put in place for their children. It’s the latest in a series of cases where the high court has dodged the issue of transgender rights at school – often leaving in place lower court rulings that sided with trans students.

“This case presents an issue on the merits that is roiling parents and school districts from Maine to California,” the parents who sued over the policy told the justices in their appeal last year. “It is important for parents, their children, and public schools alike to have this issue addressed and resolved now.”

The school district said the guidelines were put in place to “ensure a safe and respectful school environment” for all students. The fact that a student chooses to disclose information to a teacher or administrator, the school said, “does not authorize school staff to disclose a student’s information to others.”

A federal district court and the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the school, but for different reasons. The appeals court said that the parents had not established that they were injured in a way that allowed them to sue.

Three years ago, the Supreme Court declined to take up an appeal from a Virginia school district about whether schools may ban transgender students from using a bathroom that reflects their gender identity. That decision let stand a lower court ruling against those prohibitions. Last year, the court denied West Virginia’s request to let it enforce a state law that bans transgender women and girls from participating on public school sports teams.

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