Settlement coming in District 211 transgender case?

Special school board meeting scheduled for Wednesday night

  • The Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 school board will consider an agreement next Wednesday that could end its dispute with the Office for Civil Rights over a transgender student's access to locker rooms.

      The Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 school board will consider an agreement next Wednesday that could end its dispute with the Office for Civil Rights over a transgender student's access to locker rooms. Eric Peterson | Staff Photographer

 
 

A possible settlement regarding a transgender student's access to locker rooms will be the subject of a special Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 school board meeting next week.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights found District 211's policy barring a transgender student from using the girls' locker room at her school is discriminatory and violates federal Title IX laws.

Federal authorities could strip the district of as much as $6 million in funding if it does not comply.

Nevertheless, District 211 officials have stood by their policy, saying it protects the privacy rights of all students. The school district has been providing a separate changing space within a girls' locker room for the transgender student.

But the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the student, argues that any policy that treats her differently than any other girl -- the gender the student identifies as -- represents unlawful discrimination.

District officials say they've considered a variety of solutions, but unrestricted access to the locker room for a student with the body parts of the opposite gender was not one of them.

District spokesman Tom Petersen said he could not reveal any details of the proposed agreement other than that it could end the dispute if school board members vote in favor of it.

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The school board is scheduled to meet at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, at the district administration building, 1750 S. Roselle Road, Palatine.

Their discussion will take place in closed session because it involves pending litigation, but any vote afterward would be in open session.

Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the ACLU's Chicago office, said neither his agency nor the student is privy to the details of the proposed agreement between the OCR and District 211.

But throughout the dispute, the Office for Civil Rights' position has nearly coincided with that of the ACLU, he added.

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