Palatine school board votes to give transgender students unrestricted access to locker rooms

PALATINE, Ill. (WLS) -- A longtime debate over transgender access to school locker rooms was finally decided in favor of the transgender students by School District 211 Thursday night.

The four-year fight for equal access to locker rooms for transgender students finally ended in Fremd High School's cafeteria. The board voted 5-2 in favor of the motion.

RELATED: North suburban school district to consider changing locker room policy for transgender students

"This district's policies violate the very basics of consent that feminists are trying to educate people on," one woman addressing the board said Thursday night.

The battle over gender identity and who can use which locker room began in 2015 when the U.S. Department of Education said District 211 violated federal law by denying a student who identified as a female unrestricted access to the girls' locker room.

RELATED: Palatine transgender student denied unrestricted locker room access

Two federal lawsuits and a rocky compromise later, parents and students are still emotional and torn on the issue.

"I do not want to see a transgender student naked in the locker rooms," one female student said.

"The walk from the separate locker room to the gym class was humiliating and made me feel like my school did not recognize me as the girl I am," said Nova Maday, transgender student.

RELATED: Palatine Board of Education meets about transgender locker room policy

The adoption of an official transgender locker room policy did not immediately bridge that divide.

"I feel very uncomfortable and I feel it's against my rights as a student," said Julia Burca, student athlete, Fremd High School

"I think it will make it a lot safer and feel a lot better, definitely more secure for a lot of people, including myself," said Miles Toriani, District 211 student.

Board members said the policy will only allow students who have officially identified as transgender to use the locker room that corresponds to their identity. These guidelines are in line with federal standards, the board said.
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