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Chicago Area’s largest high school district votes to allow trans students facility access

Chicago Area’s largest high school district votes to allow trans students facility access
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The Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 voted last week to allow trans students equal access to the bathroom of their choice.

According to ABC‘s Chicago affiliate, the district board voted in favor of the ordinance 5 votes to 2.

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4 years ago, the district was found to be in violation of federal law by the Department of Education for not allowing a transgender student to use the bathroom that corresponded to their gender. In 2017, student Nova Maday filed a lawsuit because they were forced to change in a separate room as opposed to the common locker room. That case was dismissed by Cook County Circuit judge Thomas R. Allen, which was upheld along with other transgender bathroom bans in 2018.

Now, students in this district will not need to file lawsuits or seek injunctions to use their designated bathrooms. ABC reports:

Board members said the policy will only allow students who have officially identified as transgender to use the locker room that corresponds to their identity. These guidelines are in line with federal standards, the board said.

Several students and people in attendance for the board meeting expressed divisive remarks on the issue, with some claiming that the inclusion of transgender people into regular bathrooms makes them “feel very uncomfortable” and “violate the very basics of consent.”

Maday, however, also addressed the board, saying “the walk from the separate locker room to the gym class was humiliating and made me feel like my school did not recognize me as the girl I am.”

District 211 serves almost 12,000 students, according to its website.

Besides being able to use the available bathroom when they need to, this policy change will take away one of several obstacles transgender students face in their education. GLSEN finds that 75% of transgender youth feel unsafe at school, and may additionally struggle with “significantly lower GPAs…missing school out of concern for their safety, and…less likely to plan on continuing their education.”

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