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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Community supports suburban trans students
by Matt Simonette
2017-03-09

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Members of the organization Progress for D15 & D211, on March 8, gathered at Walter R.

Sundling, Jr., High School in suburban Palatine to support transgender students and District 15 school board members who have likewise supported transgender rights.

In late 2015, a transgender girl in suburban High School District 211 sued for the right to change in an isolated part of the girls' locker room. The Department of Education, then under the auspices of the Obama Administration, weighed in in the student's favor, and threatened to cut federal funds for the school for violating Title IX policies. The district cut a deal with the government and the student was allowed the access she wished.

According to a Progress for D15 & D211 press release, the March 8 rally came in response to stepped-up actions from another local organization, Parents for Privacy ( P4P ), which objects to the trans student's arrangement with District 211 and its accompanying policy change. A group of families also sued that district and the federal government with the help of the anti-LGBT legal group Alliance for Defending Freedom.

Progress for D15 & D211 said that PRP members and their supporters have been disrupting District 211 meetings regularly in order to speak out against the policy and that it did not want to see such disruptions occur at District 15 meetings.

"Our community is one of diversity, tolerance, and inclusion," said the press release. "This vocal minority does not represent us. We will show our numbers and our support for students and the school board who is dedicated to protecting their human rights."

During the meeting, one speaker, Linda Kapko, challenged board members to change their clothes there, in order to make a point about privacy. She also said that allowing a trans woman to change in the girls' locker room was granting to her special rights.

Retired Palatine school teacher Roger Fraser, however, complimented the board on positive changes he'd seen during his 28-year tenure in District 15, and the years since his retirement. He especially praised policies perpetuating diversity and acceptance of all students, regardless of factors such as race, creed, sexual orientation and gender identity.

—Tim Carroll contributed to reporting of this story


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