The Illinois transgender high school student who fought for the right to use the girls’ locker room is expected to be granted access on Friday, The Chicago Tribune reported.
Township High School District 211, the largest school district in Illinois, announced via email to parents the news.
“As agreed with the Office of Civil Rights, the District will soon provide a transgender student access to the locker room consistent with the student’s gender identity based on the student’s request to change in private changing stations within the locker room,” the school’s principal wrote in an email this week, according to the Tribune.
Neither the student, nor the high school, have been identified by name.
The fight for the transgender student’s access to the girls’ locker room set off a fierce debate around the country when the student, who identifies as a female, was denied access to the girls’ locker room.
The Department of Education found that the school violated anti-discrimination laws by not allowing the student, who participates on a girls’ sports team, to shower in the girls’ locker room, The New York Times reported in November.
The school was then given 30 days to find a solution or face enforcement, including Justice Department action or loss of federal funding.
The Department of Education’s decision, and subsequent compliance by the Township District, is being lauded as the first of its kind on the rights of transgender students, according to the Times.
To comply with the ruling, the school has installed stalls into the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms, where students can change in privacy.
Some parents in the school district are upset with the ruling and the school’s acquiescence to the Department of Education.
“They sacrificed the basic constitutional rights of the other students,” Vicki Wilson, a district parent and co-founder of the group District 211 Parents for Privacy, told the Tribune. “They chose to cave to the feds when the really didn’t need to.”
But federal officials back the decision as a basic right afforded to all students equally.
“All students deserve the opportunity to participate equally in school programs and activities — this is a basic civil right,” Catherine Lhamon, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, said in a statement.
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