Officials at Illinois High School District 211 apparently meant it when they said they are prepared to stand their ground with the federal government over a controversy regarding a transgender boy’s ability to use the girls’ locker room and shower facility.
A settlement had been reached in the matter, but now school officials are accusing the federal government of backpedaling on the deal, and they say there may be no deal at all.
Last week the school board approved a settlement allowing the student, who is a biological male, access to the girls’ facility. In exchange the student agreed to change in a private area, and shower in a segregated area, out of view of other students.
Those were the original conditions that the district had offered the student, so it appeared that the school was victorious, despite the federal government’s assertion that forcing the student to shower and change in private was a violation of a federal law designed to prevent gender discrimination in public schools.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights had threatened to withhold roughly $6 million per year in federal aid from the district if it failed to accommodate the student.
From the school’s standpoint, simply allowing the student access to the locker room represented a compromise. Many district residents have loudly insisted that biological boys belong in boys’ locker rooms, and vice versa.
But after the settlement was announced, a federal official issued a statement that seemed to suggest that the terms were blanket policy that would apply to all transgender students in the district, according to a story published by Advocate.com.