Judge recommends against transgender locker room ban

SHARE Judge recommends against transgender locker room ban

A dispute over a transgender student’s access to the girls’ locker room at Fremd High School led to a deal with the federal government that is now being challenged in court. | Fremd High School website

A federal judge has recommended against an injunction that would bar a transgender student from using the girls’ locker room at a high school in northwest suburban Palatine while a lawsuit proceeds.

A complaint filed over the summer by Students and Parents for Privacy — an “unincorporated association” of 51 families with ties to Township High School District 211 — is seeking to keep the William Fremd High School student out of the locker room.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert on Tuesday said Township High School District 211 “offers all students reasonable accommodations to ensure their privacy is protected” and that “any cisgender high school student who does not want to use a restroom or a locker room with a transgender student is not required to do so.”

Gilbert’s finding was only a recommendation. A final ruling on the injunction is expected from Judge Jorge Alonso “in the coming weeks,” according to a statement from the school district.

The battle over transgender student access to the locker room centers around a Fremd senior identified as “Student A” in court filings. Born male, lawyers for the school district said the student is a girl “in every way she can be.” The student has been allowed to use the girls’ restroom at Fremd since August 2013.

Lawyers for Students and Parents for Privacy have insisted that “Student A is male,” and that other students have a right to use a locker room “free of a male student.”

District 211 serves nearly 12,500 students from Palatine, Hoffman Estates, Inverness and Schaumburg, and parts of seven other northwestern suburbs, in five high schools and two alternative high schools. It was forced to give Student A access to the locker room last year when the Department of Education charged that not accommodating the student was a violation of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

The lawsuit maintains that the 1972 federal law actually authorizes schools to retain single-sex restrooms and locker rooms, and Title IX is being unlawfully redefined by the Department of Education.

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