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District 211 to deliberate on crafting transgender locker room policy
by Matt Simonette
2019-09-20

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Officials from Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 said Sept. 19 that they'll need more time to determine logistics of a policy that would permit transgender students to use the locker rooms corresponding to the gender with which they identify, according to reports.

School board officials at a crowded meeting that night determined that they were not likely to create a policy in time for its Oct. 17 meeting, when such a policy change would likely originally have been voted on, Daily Herald reported.

A special meeting was called in October to address the policy, but that would push back the date of a likely vote to November or later. But one area rights advocate nevertheless said he was confident about the eventual outcome.

"The board moved forward, and seemed to be committed to the policy," Ed Yohnka, ACLU of Illinois' director of communications & public policy, told Windy City Times. "What seemed to be in question were in terms of what the implementation would look like."

ACLU has been representing a transgender District 211 student, Nova Maday, who said that she was denied equal access to the girls' locker room; Maday's suit, filed in 2017, came about two years after yet another contentious local episode, when the Obama administration threatened the district's Title IX funding over another transgender student who had been denied public accommodations access.

The district cut a deal with the administration to grant that first student access to girls' locker room changing facilities. That deal, in turn triggered a lawsuit from local parents and anti-LGBT activists in 2016. That suit was dropped in 2019. Maday, conversely, sued saying that the 2015 policy decision only was applied with respect to the original student not the student body as a whole. She has since graduated.

Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison weighed in on the potential policy change in a statement.

"Bathroom and locker-room policies that restrict students use of facilities that correspond with their gender identity are harmful and put transgender and gender nonconforming students ( TGNC ) at greater risk for bullying and harassment," said Morrison. "As a graduate of Conant High School, I am personally familiar with the incredible education and opportunities that District 211 provides students. However, I believe that we as a community set the tone and have shared responsibility to create a safe learning environment and protect all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. District 211 can and should do better for TGNC students, and I strongly urge the Board of Education to approve the policy change to allow unrestricted access."

"What's important is that we're moving forward," said Yohnka.

Daily Herald's article is at www.dailyherald.com/news/20190919/district-211-board-says-it-needs-more-time-on-transgender-locker-room-policy .

Related: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/District-211-considers-transgender-locker-room-proposal/66991.html .


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