Duaa Eldeib and Robert McCoppin report that a high school district in Illinois has refused to comply with an order from the Office of Civil Rights concerning locker room access for a transgender student:
The student, who identifies as female, is asking that she receive full access to the girls’ locker room.
An official with the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the student in a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Education, called the district’s stance “blatant discrimination, no matter how the district tries to couch it.”
“We’re talking about somebody who is being denied fair and equal treatment as compared to the other students, only because she is transgender,” said John Knight, director of the LGBT and HIV Project at ACLU of Illinois.
Federal officials responded to the complaint, which was filed about a year and a half ago with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, by saying the school is in violation of the Title IX gender equality law, according to the ACLU and district officials.
Read more on Chicago Tribune.
The press release issued by the school district today states, in part:
The District has taken great care and provided thoughtful review in considering this issue. As secondary education professionals, District 211 teachers and administrators have responsibility for supporting all students with their development amid circumstances and demands that are both complex and non-stop in today’s world. The District is sensitive to the challenges facing transgender youth, and recognizes the strength and courage it takes to come forward to school officials and others as they convey their gender identity to the school community.
After serious and lengthy consideration, the District will continue to provide private accommodations for transgender students to ensure a respectful school environment, and will not allow unrestricted access to its locker rooms as directed by OCR. The goal of the District in this matter is to protect the privacy rights of all students when changing clothes or showering before or after physical education and after-school activities, while also providing accommodations necessary to meet the unique needs of individual students. The District’s responsibility is to provide an environment conducive to learning for all of its 12,000+ students.
Read the full press release here.