Parents group drops lawsuit over District 211 transgender policy
A group of parents and students Monday dropped their 2016 federal lawsuit against Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 over policies allowing a transgender student limited access to a girls locker room.
The move comes just weeks after a judge dismissed portions of the suit, including counts alleging the district violated others students' rights to bodily privacy and their parents' rights to direct their education.
"The district will continue our practices of affirming and supporting the identity of our students with access to bathrooms and locker rooms," District 211 officials said in a written statement released after the case's dismissal.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which joined the case on the side of the school district, welcomed the dismissal, saying it hopes it encourages District 211 to make its schools more welcoming for all students, including those who are transgender.
"Over the course of nearly three years of litigation, one thing remained clear," John Knight, LGBTQ & HIV advocacy director for the ACLU of Illinois, said in a written statement. "There has never been any harm to non-transgender students from sharing restrooms and locker rooms with students whom they perceive as different. The only harm has been to transgender students who have been targeted with fearmongering and misinformation."
The group Students and Parents for Privacy sued District 211 in 2016, after school officials reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Education that allowed a student known in documents as Student A limited access to girls locker rooms at Fremd High School. Student A graduated from Fremd in 2017.
Under the policy, the student was allowed access to the girls locker room but required to change in a privacy stall. The stalls were available to all students.
The Arizona-based religious freedom organization Alliance Defending Freedom has been representing Students and Parents for Privacy in the lawsuit. Its senior counsel, Gary McCaleb, could not be immediately reached for comment Monday.
Though it sided with District 211 on the federal case, the ACLU continues to represent former student Nova Maday in a state lawsuit against the district arguing that its policy is restrictive and discriminatory.
"Students who are transgender have never been a threat to anyone in this school or elsewhere," Knight said. "This moment is an opportunity for District 211 to reject this cruelty and become a model for tolerance and humane treatment for all students, including those who are transgender."