Church revives Dist. 211 transgender locker room debate

 
 
Updated 1/22/2016 8:50 AM
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  • Bill Schlipp, an elder at New Hope Community Church in Palatine, speaks against the recent agreement allowing a transgender student limited access to the girls locker room at Fremd High School.

      Bill Schlipp, an elder at New Hope Community Church in Palatine, speaks against the recent agreement allowing a transgender student limited access to the girls locker room at Fremd High School. Eric Peterson | Staff Photographer

A month-old agreement between Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 and the U.S. Department of Education to provide a transgender student limited access to the girls locker room at Fremd High School in Palatine remained a matter of public debate at Thursday's school board meeting.

Though religious objections to the agreement played a part at two board meetings in early December, they were cited even more strongly Thursday by several members of New Hope Community Church in Palatine. Church member Teri Paulson told school board members that their role should be one to help people with "delusional disorders" see the truth rather than asking everyone else to share in their delusion.

"Our government is starting to punish people for telling the truth," Paulson said.

Church Elder Bill Schlipp told the board God created people as men and women, and it was wrong to tell children otherwise.

"When you made this choice, was it because you loved these children?" Schlipp asked. "This is not love in God's eyes, it is abuse."

But Sandy Reeves of Hanover Park spoke in favor of the district's agreement. Reeves is the president of the Illinois chapter of Stand for the Silent, an anti-bullying organization.

"I don't want to see someone else take their own life due to someone else's actions and prejudices," Reeves said. "Everyone is unique in his or her own way. Some people cannot accept change. What does that tell our children?"

Under the agreement, District 211 has installed five privacy stalls in the locker room that the transgender student must use and any other girl can choose to. This arrangement is expected to begin when the second semester begins next week. The agreement removed the threat of the federal government withholding approximately $6 million in Title IX funding after finding the district in violation of the law prohibiting sex discrimination.

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