Community reacts to new transgender bathroom directive

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President Barack Obama has ordered the nation's public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their chosen gender identity. (WLS)

A modern day battle of the sexes is now raging in schools across the United States.

President Barack Obama has ordered the nation's public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their chosen gender identity.

"Denying someone who is transgender access to appropriate changing areas or restrooms or denying them use of proper pronoun or name is sex discrimination under federal law." said Ed Yonhka, director of communications, ACLU of Illinois.

The Obama Administration issued a mandate Friday morning that said any school that refuses to allow transgender students or employees to use restrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify as could lose federal funding.

"These have no justification in law, there is no authority for these departments to force schools to allow biological males access to the girls' bathrooms and locker rooms," said Jocelyn Floyd, associate counsel with the Thomas More Society.

This newly public fight over people's highly personal parts played out in the Palatine school district. The subject of where transgender students may change has divided some of the student body at Fremd High School.

"I would be ok with it as long as there were no interactions sexually between us. Otherwise I have no problem with it," said Cooper Michalak, a Fremd High School student.

"I just think it's unfair. I think the privacy of the majority of the girls who go there is more important than the happiness of one individual," said Dan San Filippo, another Fremd student.

In their own, new guidelines, Chicago Public Schools say that students and adults may use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

"I think for hundreds of superintendents across the state of Illinois today, they got a road map to what that policy looks like," said Yonhka.

But whether administrators choose to navigate the path that's been drawn for them could mean the difference in millions of dollars.

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transgenderACLUschoolsPalatine
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