Supporters Of Trans Students Say Suit’s Dismissal Sets Precedent

Supporters of legislation supporting transgender students in Illinois, demonstrating in 2017.

Supporters of legislation supporting transgender students in Illinois, demonstrating in 2017.

ACLU of Illinois via NPRIllinois

A parents’ group from the Chicago suburbs dropped its lawsuit that attempted to ban transgender students from using school restrooms and locker rooms associated with their gender identity, ending a three-year legal battle. It is a move that supporters of transgender students say helps affirm the rights of  students across Illinois.   

The group is from Township High School District 211, based in Palatine, and the largest high school district in the state. The lawyer representing the parents did not say why they decided to drop the suit, which a judge then dismissed. The Alliance Defending Freedom’s Gary McCaleb, a co-counsel in the case, said, “If new conflicts arise from the school district allowing opposite-sex use of privacy facilities such as locker rooms and restrooms, we will take appropriate legal action.’

But, Ed Yohnka, with the ACLU of Illinois, says he believes this sets a precedent… that future legal attacks on school districts with, what he calls "open and inclusive policies" will not be successful.

“This idea of rolling back those districts where good policies have been put in place has really lost any energy or any steam,” he said.

Yohnka also said he hopes more districts follow the lead of those that have open and inclusive policies related to transgender students such as the Chicago Public Schools, Elgin U-46, Glenbard District 87 in DuPage County and the Williamsville district near Springfield.

Roderigo Anzures, with the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, which supports LGBTQ students in Illinois schools, says,  “If schools can feel more secure, that they won't be sued or that they won't be held liable for any reason for supporting their trans students, I think that’s always a good thing.”

A lawyer representing the parents’ group issued a statement that did not explain why the suit was dropped. It did say it would take appropriate legal action if new conflicts arise.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio