CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — A years-long battle has ended over allowing transgender students at Palatine-based Township High School District 211 to use the restroom and locker room that corresponds with their gender identity.
The group Students and Parents for Privacy, which had been seeking to force the district to end its policy, has dropped its lawsuit seeking to restrict transgender restroom and locker room access.
U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso approved the dismissal of the lawsuit on Monday, meaning the district’s policy allowing transgender students to use locker rooms and restrooms that match their gender identity to continue.
Students and Parents for Privacy argued sharing bathrooms with transgender students caused “embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, fear and “loss of dignity.” Their attorney, Christiana Holcomb of Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, noted two transgender students who were allowed to use the girls’ locker rooms when the lawsuit was filed in 2016 have graduated.
The controversy over bathroom and locker room rights dates to 2013, when a transgender student filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. She was seeking full access to the girls’ locker room.
The district later reached an agreement with the federal government to allow that student to use the girls’ locker rooms and bathrooms with a private changing stall.
In 2017, another transgender student at District 211, Nova Maday, filed a separate lawsuit against the district, claiming the requirement to use a private changing stall was discriminatory. That lawsuit is still pending, although Maday has since graduated from high school.
The ACLU, which sided with both transgender students in Palatine, said “District 211 still has some important work to do to make it a place where transgender students are treated fairly and respectfully.”
“Over the course of nearly three years of litigation, one thing remained clear. There has never been any harm to non-transgender students from sharing restrooms and locker rooms with students whom they perceive as different,” ACLU LGBTQ advocacy director John Knight stated on the group’s website. “The only harm has been to transgender students who have been targeted with fear-mongering and misinformation. Students who are transgender have never been a threat to anyone in this school or elsewhere.”
The ACLU said the dismissal of the Students and Parents for Privacy lawsuit is an opportunity for District 211 to become a model for how schools should treat all students.