School won't comply with order regarding transgender student

Updated 10/13/2015 9:53 AM

PALATINE, Ill. -- A suburban Chicago school district has said it won't honor a federal ruling that allows a transgender student into the locker room of the student's preferred gender.

Palatine-based Township High School District 211 said at a news conference Monday that it has denied the student's request, citing privacy issues for other students. Superintendent Daniel E. Cates said the district believes the ruling by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights infringes on the privacy of all students the district serves. Cates said litigation is possible.


"We fully support our transgender students," Superintendent Daniel E. Cates said. "The district has been sensitive. We developed a number of options. The Office of Civil Rights rejected any option other than unrestricted access. We will not adopt this requirement ... The principles we stand on are firm."

If the district doesn't comply, it stands to lose a portion of its $6 million in federal funding. The U.S. Department of Education didn't immediately comment.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the student, said the student has been living as a girl for a number of years. The district did not identify the student or which of the district's five high schools the student attends.

The student's family filed the federal complaint in spring 2014 after the district offered use of a private locker room. The district also gives transgender students the option of using the locker room of the gender from which they transitioned.

John Knight, director of the LGBT and HIV Project at ACLU of Illinois, said the student plays sports and wants to be in the same locker room with friends and classmates. Knight said putting the student in a separate room stigmatizes the student.

"We're talking about somebody who is being denied fair and equal treatment as compared to the other students, only because she is transgender," Knight said.

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