Dist. 211 considering general policy for transgender access

  • Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board member Pete Dombrowski, right, proposes a districtwide policy on access to gender-specific facilities as fellow board member Robert LeFevre Jr. listens. Dombrowski was one of two board members who voted against an agreement late last year allowing a single transgender student limited access to the girls locker room at Fremd High School.

      Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board member Pete Dombrowski, right, proposes a districtwide policy on access to gender-specific facilities as fellow board member Robert LeFevre Jr. listens. Dombrowski was one of two board members who voted against an agreement late last year allowing a single transgender student limited access to the girls locker room at Fremd High School. Eric Peterson | Staff Photographer

 
 
Posted2/12/2016 5:02 AM

Though they reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education late last year to provide a transgender student limited access to the girls locker room at Fremd High School in Palatine, officials in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 will consider a districtwide policy regarding access to gender-specific facilities.

Board member Pete Dombrowski proposed the idea at Thursday night's school board meeting, wondering if it might even be one of the requirements of the district's agreement with the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Though it isn't required by the agreement, Dombrowski's fellow board members expressed general support for the idea of researching such a policy.

Dombrowski and board member Lauanna Recker voted against the agreement with the OCR that allows a transgender student who was born biologically male but identifies as female to use the girls locker room with the understanding that she always use one of the newly installed privacy stalls.

But Dombrowski found support among fellow board members who'd voted for the agreement to consider a districtwide policy.

"Many schools are doing best practices," board President Mucia Burke said. "I would like us to look at different ones. I'm curious to see what other states are doing."

Board member Will Hinshaw agreed.

"It would be good to have several examples of what other districts are doing," he said. "Not that we need to do what other districts are doing."

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The proposal was forwarded to the board's policy committee, with the understanding that it may take more than a month or two to undertake the necessary research.

"I'd like to make sure we get some input from principals," board member Anna Klimkowicz said. "They're the ones fielding questions and concerns."

Members of the public have hardly forgotten last year's controversial decision to enter into the agreement with the OCR, which removed the risk of the district's losing up to $6 million per year in federal funding after being found in violation of the Title IX anti-sex discrimination law.

Ten members of Thursday night's audience spoke against the agreement while three spoke in favor of it.

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