District 211
Fremd High School, Palatine, Ill.

Judge refuses to block transgender policy in Illinois high school district

Jan. 3, 2018
Parents' group sought to stop policy that allows transgender students limited use of bathrooms that match their gender identity.

A federal judge in Illinois has refused to block a school district policy that allowed a transgender student's limited use of a girls locker room at Fremd High School in Palatine.

The Daily Herald reports that a parents' group sued High School District 211 to block the student's use of the girls locker room. The student, who is not identified, was born male, but identifies as female. She has since graduated.

In denying a request for an injunction, U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Alonso cited the availability of privacy stalls for all students in the locker rooms as a mitigating factor.

"This case does not involve the forced or extreme invasions of privacy that the courts addressed in the cases cited by plaintiffs," Alonso wrote. "Further, the restrooms at issue here have privacy stalls that can be used by students seeking an additional layer of privacy, and single-use facilities are also available upon request. Given these protections, there is no meaningful risk that a student's unclothed body need be seen by any other person."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which represented the student, praised the ruling.

"The groups who filed this case remain unable to demonstrate any harm to their clients from sharing restrooms and locker rooms with students who they perceive as different," says John Knight, director of the ACLU of Illinois' LGBTQ Project. "The plaintiffs' fear-mongering and persistent refusal to respect the core gender of these students cannot change the simple fact that there is no legal justification for requiring District 211 to separate and stigmatize transgender students because of who they are."

District 211 reached an agreement with the federal government in 2015 allowing the student to use the locker room, but change in a privacy stall.

Even though the transgender student has graduated, granting the injunction would have set a precedent affecting other transgender students in the district who may be offered similar use of locker rooms, says Gary McCaleb, senior counsel of Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the parents' group, Students and Parents For Privacy.

"It's not over.," Students and Parents for Privacy posted on its Facebook page. "We will not rest until the privacy rights, dignity and well-being of all students are protected equally."

District 211 also is a defendant in a state lawsuit filed in November by transgender student Nova Maday, who argues her use of the girls locker room at Palatine High School should not be confined to a privacy stall.

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