An Illinois school district faces the loss of Title IX funding for refusing to let a boy who identifies and dresses as a girl into the female locker room to change and shower.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights sent a letter to Township High School District 211 officials in Palatine, Illinois, warning them they cannot deny the transgender student access to the girls’ changing and showering rooms, according to Title IX rules that ban sex discrimination.
The school had been requiring the transgender student, who’s reportedly undergoing hormone therapy, to use a private changing and showering facility, created by drawing close a curtain in the female dressing room, the New York Times reported. Now the school has 30 days to rectify the matter – meaning, let the transgender student dress and shower in the girl’s room, minus the curtain – or face sanctions. Among the punishments that could befall include the withdrawal of all or some of the school’s Title IX funding.
The letter explicitly stated the student has the right to access the girl’s room.
“All students deserve the opportunity to participate equally in school programs and activities. This is a basic civil right,” said Catherine Lhamon, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, in a statement reported by the New York Times.
“Unfortunately, Township High School District 211 is not following the law because the district continues to deny a female student the right to use the girls’ locker room.”
The district superintendent, Daniel Cates, said he disagreed with the decision and called it a “serious overreach with precedent setting implications. The New York Times reported the transgender student in Palatine plays on a girls’ sports team and is referred to as a “she” by school staff.
President Obama has increasingly pressed for more transgender rights, including medical care and hormone therapies, at places of work and in the prison systems.