Opponents worry transgender student won't follow rules

  • Opponents of a transgender student's newly granted access to a girls locker room in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 are complaining of reported instances of the student's prior use of the locker room without permission.

    Opponents of a transgender student's newly granted access to a girls locker room in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 are complaining of reported instances of the student's prior use of the locker room without permission. Eric Peterson | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/22/2016 7:49 PM

Before a transgender student won limited access to the girls locker room at Fremd High School late last year, she broke the rules several times by going into the girls locker room without permission, according to a federal government report.

Opponents of Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211's decision to give the transgender student limited access to the locker room say this raises questions about how well she will abide by the current rules, which require her to use a private changing area within the locker room. The student has male anatomy but self-identifies as female.

 

Vicki Wilson, co-founder of District 211 Parents for Privacy, argues that an Office of Civil Rights report cites five instances when a coach or teacher found the student in the girls locker room. It is not clear when these instances took place, other than over the past three years.

According to the report, the student said she wanted to use the locker room to be part of the group and informally huddle with teammates before matches while they did their hair and engaged in "girl talk."

"The OCR report shows a pattern of breaking the rules, so what's to lead us to believe that the rules won't be broken again?" Wilson asked the school board Thursday night.

On Friday, District 211 officials said they are unwilling to comment publicly on issues of individual student discipline, but they said their dedication to the safety and security of all students is "unwavering."

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"Any concern involving student safety is investigated thoroughly," a statement issued Friday reads. "Protecting and safeguarding student welfare has been and continues to be our highest priority."

Meanwhile, the student's representatives at the American Civil Liberties Union say the record shows only that their client broke rules that have since been declared unlawfully discriminatory.

"Those are rules that OCR found to be a violation of (the student's) rights," said ACLU spokesman Ed Yohnka. "She wasn't following a rule that shouldn't have been enforced in the first place."

Under the agreement forged with the Office for Civil Rights, District 211 has provided privacy stalls in the Fremd girls locker room that the transgender student must use and others may use.

District 211 had been threatened with the loss of approximately $6 million in federal funding annually after having been found in violation of the Title IX law that prohibits sex discrimination.

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