Transgender deal, hearing process criticized again

  • Jeff Miller, a resident of Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211, criticized the majority of the school board at its meeting Thursday for not giving priority to district residents during the public comment at Monday's special meeting when an agreement allowing limited locker room access to a transgender student was reconsidered.

      Jeff Miller, a resident of Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211, criticized the majority of the school board at its meeting Thursday for not giving priority to district residents during the public comment at Monday's special meeting when an agreement allowing limited locker room access to a transgender student was reconsidered. Eric Peterson | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/11/2015 8:30 AM

Several residents of Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 attended Thursday's school board meeting to criticize both the recent agreement with the federal government on a transgender student's limited access to a girls' locker room and the process by which it was reached and reaffirmed this month.

Coming in for particular criticism was the lottery system used to select the speakers for the two-hour public comment portion of Monday night's meeting, where they said nonresidents appeared to dominate the conversation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"What happened just wasn't right," district resident Jeff Miller said Thursday, as others held signs reading, "We're Just Getting Started," "It's Not Over" and "We're Not Going Away."

The district's agreement with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights dictates that the transgender student who filed a federal complaint use a private changing area within a girls locker room. A variety of privacy options also will be made available to any other girl using that locker room.

Board members had considered rescinding the agreement Monday after hearing that OCR officials were interpreting the agreement to mean unrestricted access to the locker room for the transgender student, who is anatomically male. But the deal was reaffirmed after a letter was received confirming the district's interpretation.

But those who spoke Thursday argued the district caved to pressure when the recent precedent in federal court is to deny such access to transgender students. The district had faced the potential denial of $6 million annually in federal Title IX funding from the Department of Education.

"You surrendered to OCR," said Joseph Qian of Palatine. "God created a man and a woman. Transgender should never happen."

A few of Thursday's speakers called for the resignation of the five school board members who voted for the agreement, while thanking board members Pete Dombrowski and Lauanna Recker for voting against it.

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