Indiana AG Emphasizes Parental Rights, Defends Sex-Specific Bathroom Policies

School districts across the United States that have implemented policies meant to clearly define gender-related matters are increasingly facing pushback from state authorities and the judicial system.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, for example, recently filed a lawsuit against the Chino Valley Unified School district over a recently enacted requirement that parents be notified if their children begin identifying as a different gender.

Elsewhere in that state, the Temecula Valley Unified School District backed down from its effort to reject a controversial LGBT state-sanctioned curriculum when Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom threatened to impose a $1.5 million fine.

In Indiana, however, Attorney General Todd Rokita is on the same side as two school districts advocating for a policy separating school restrooms based on biological sex, not gender identity.

Last month, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals shot down the Metropolitan School District of Martinsville’s effort to make its own decisions on the matter after a lower court ordered it and Vigo County School Corporation to allow students to use the facilities that correspond with their self-identified gender.

The Martinsville district initiated a new appeal in response to the most recent ruling.

The initial decision came in response to a 2021 lawsuit arguing that teens in both districts had been harmed by being required to use restrooms corresponding with their biological sex. Arguing on behalf of the students, American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana’s Ken Falk asserted: “Students who are denied access to the appropriate facilities are caused both serious emotional and physical harm as they are denied recognition of who they are. They will often avoid using the restroom altogether while in school.”

For his part, Rokita echoed the concerns of parents and officials nationwide who believe that encouraging children to use an alternate identity while in school is an inherent infringement on parental rights.

“This is about dividing children from their parents,” he said. “It’s a lot more than just bathrooms and locker rooms.”

The attorney general is heading up a group of 21 states that have joined forces to advance such sex-specific rules in school.

“These issues are much more than just the issue at hand that they’re attacking,” Rokita asserted. “This is about … not just social, cultural war issues. Because all of these issues are rooted in economics.”