All-gender restrooms added to Libertyville High, Vernon Hills High

  • All-gender restrooms have opened at Libertyville High School, shown here, and at sister school Vernon Hills High.

    All-gender restrooms have opened at Libertyville High School, shown here, and at sister school Vernon Hills High. Courtesy of Luke Ekdahl/Drops of Ink

 
 
Updated 9/23/2016 3:58 PM

All-gender restrooms have been added to Libertyville and Vernon Hills high schools to accommodate transgender students and anyone who wants more privacy.

Six specially marked restrooms have opened at each school. They previously had been staff restrooms marked for single gender use.

 

Nine all-gender restrooms have opened at Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 headquarters in Vernon Hills, too.

"The district is committed to providing resources and accommodations that provide a safe and secure environment for all students," district spokeswoman Mary Todoric said.

The restrooms are open to staffers and visitors, too, officials said.

The all-gender restrooms opened within a few weeks of the start of the new school year, Todoric said. Users don't need to be transgender.

"They are in place for any person in our schools who wishes for more privacy in the bathroom, which could be for a number of reasons," Todoric said.

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Most of the restrooms are one-person facilities containing a toilet and sink. Two have two stalls.

The conversion to all-gender restrooms required new signs and privacy locks that say "occupied" when in use. The equipment cost $1,745.

The restrooms are part of new guidelines that promote the integration of transgender and gender-expansive students.

A team of teachers, social workers, counselors and others developed the policies. The guidelines cover access to restrooms and locker rooms, the names students wish to be called, dress and other topics.

Although locker room and restroom access for transgender students have been controversial issues at some other suburban districts and elsewhere in the nation, there haven't been any problems in District 128, officials said.

"We're just trying to stay ahead of the curve," District 128 board member Alex Delli Paoli Jr. said.

Palatine-Schaumburg Township High School District 211 is mired in a fight about transgender locker room access.

Some students and their parents are suing the district and the U.S. Department of Education in federal court, claiming an agreement allowing a transgender student limited access to the girls locker room at Fremd High School violates their civil rights.

Elsewhere, Elgin Area School District U-46 garnered headlines earlier this month after a transgender middle school student was allowed to use a locker room that corresponds with the student's gender identity at the same time as other students.

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