Apparently there is no room for compromise when it comes to allowing transgender students full access to the facilities of their choice – even locker rooms, where other students shower and change.
Officials at Township High School District 211 in Palatine, Illinois have gone out of their way to accommodate transgender students. They give them full access to the restrooms of their choice, allow them to play on male or female athletic teams, and respect the alternative names they choose.
But in 2013 school officials drew the line when a boy who is transgender requested permission to use the girls’ locker room. Officials were willing to compromise by putting up privacy curtains in the room and requiring the student to change behind them, based on the safe assumption that some girls would be offended by having to change with a biological male.
The student rejected that option and filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The DOE recently ruled in the student’s favor, claiming that the school district is in violation of Title IX, a section of federal law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in public schools.
One possible sanction against the district would be cutting off about $6 million in annual federal financial assistance.
School officials are obviously concerned about that possibility, but believe they have taken the proper action for all students involved, and suspect the outcome of their situation could be precedent-setting for schools throughout the nation.