The Obama administration, through the U.S. Department of Education, has ordered a school district in Illinois to allow a transgender student to use the girls' locker room or it will force the school district to do so.
Township High School District 211 in Palatine, Illinois may lose its federal funding if it does not follow the order of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) under the education department to allow the male student, who identifies himself as female, to use the girls' facilities.
In its letter to Superintendent Daniel Cates, the OCR said it found "by the preponderance of the evidence that the District is in violation of Title IX for excluding Student A from participation in and denying her the benefits of its education programme, providing services to her in a different manner, subjecting her to different rules of behavior, and subjecting her to different treatment on the basis of sex," LifeSitenews reported.
Title IX is a law signed in 1972 that "prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education programme or activity," according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Jeremy Tedesco of the Alliance Defending Freedom said, "A federal court in Pennsylvania recently rejected a similar lawsuit filed by a transgender student seeking access to restrooms at a college ruling that 'separating students by sex based on biological considerations ... for restroom and locker room use simply does not violate the Equal Protection Clause.'"
"The court rejected the Title IX claim for the same reason. It also highlighted that Title IX's implementing regulations state that schools do not violate Title IX when they 'provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex," he said.
He said Title IX "does not mention access to restrooms and it does not change binding Title IX regulations authorising schools to create 'separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.'"
"It would take an act of Congress to include 'gender identity' as a protected status under Title IX," he said. "The school can defend itself against this lawsuit without losing its federal funding. And it should. Allowing students access to the opposite sex's restrooms would violate the privacy rights of the vast majority of students and trample the rights of parents as well."
The school district made a compromise with the student by allowing him to use a private changing area.
"At some point, we have to balance the privacy rights of 12,000 students with other particular, individual needs of another group of students," said Cates. "We believe this infringes on the privacy of all the students that we serve."
Cates said the OCR decision is "a serious overreach with precedent-setting implications." He told The New York Times that part of the district's compromise included a privacy curtain in the girls' locker room.
The Obama administration has also supported the case of Gavin Grimm, a transgender male, by filing a brief with an appeals court to support her goal to use boys' facilities. Grimm lost the case that led to an appeal.