Public schools must allow transgender students to choose bathroom

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The Obama administration is warning public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. (WLS)

The Obama administration is warning public schools across the country to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

The Justice Department and Education Department issued guidance Friday stating that no student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus.

Federal officials said the warning is a response to a growing chorus of educators, parents and students nationwide who are asking how schools must treat transgender students in compliance with Title IX and other civil rights laws.

If a school refuses to fix a policy that violates the law, the U.S. could revoke federal funding.

The largest high school district in Illinois, based in northwest suburban Palatine, recently started allowing students to use the restroom and locker room of the gender they identify with in response to a civil rights complaint filed by a Fremd High School student.

Now, 51 families are suing to end that practice.

A few Fremd students ABC7 Eyewitness News spoke with Friday had opinions on both sides of the issue.

"I think that's totally fine. I mean the school, obviously, would not want to lose funding for something so small like that. I think that it's totally fine that they do that. It's part of a constitutional law," Cooper Michalak said.

"I do not support it. I think it's unfair. I have a little sister goes there. She's a sophomore. I know she's uncomfortable with it. I would be uncomfortable too, having someone who was born a male in the girl's bathroom and girl's locker room," Dan Sanfilippo, said.

District 211 issued a statement Friday, saying it "affirms and supports the identity of all of our students."
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