It is the first time education officials threaten a school district with penalties or court action if the district doesn’t change its stance on transgender students. Currently, an Illinois school district faces backlash for barring transgender kid from girls’ locker room.
The boy who self-identifies as a girl and takes part in the school’s sports team asked to be allowed to change and shower with female students. The case was brought to the school district’s attention which ruled that there would be an infringement of the district’ policy if the boy’s request was granted.
But on Monday, federal officials said the district’s decision was unruly and could trigger sanctions. To date, federal authorities and school districts faced with similar situation reached and agreement.
The Illinois-based Township High School District 211 said that it would take the matter to court.
The Department of Education told the district to solve the matter within 30 working days. If it doesn’t comply with the request, sanctions may follow and even a court action. Additionally, the district could lose all or some of its federal funding.
The Department of Education argued that the district’s policy tramples on the student’s right to not be sexually discriminated. The department said that the kid who was born male should be granted immediate access to changing and showering facilities designated for female students.
Catherine Lhamon of the U.S. Department of Education said that all students had the right to equally participate in school activities since this was a fundamental civil right. Ms. Lhamon added that the Illinois school district was ‘not following the law.’
The school district deemed the Education Department’s decision a ‘serious overreach’ that may lead to precedent-setting consequences. The district added that its workers tried to find the most appropriate solution to not infringe anyone’s rights. One of the proposed solutions would be for the transgender student to change beyond curtains in the girls’ locker room.
But other school districts nationwide are faced with similar situations. In California, two school districts agreed to allow transgender students to use female restrooms under the feds’ pressure. In Missouri, students rallied against a similar federal decision.
Nevertheless, the Illinois school district tried to reach a compromise that would be equally beneficial for both sides. Yet, although the transgender student is referred to as a ‘she,’ has a female name, and is member of the girls’ sports team, he was denied access to showering and changing facilities of female students.
Image Source: Wikipedia