The mother of a transgender student who sparked a national debate has spoken out for the first time since the U.S. Department of Education found that a suburban school district violated her daughter's rights.
Her comments were published on the website of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which is representing the girl, who was born male, in a federal complaint against the Palatine-based Township High School District 211.
The girl, whose name has not been released during the legal proceedings, filed a complaint with the Department of Education's civil rights office in 2013 after being denied unrestricted locker room access. Last week, officials found after a two-year investigation that District 211 violated her rights under Title IX.
The mother's anonymous essay titled "Our child is a girl" details the family's struggle with understanding their daughter's identity and advocating on her behalf.
"In Junior High, our daughter was not permitted to use the girls’ restroom or locker room or to participate in girls’ sports. As a result, she was bullied on a daily basis," she wrote. "The emotional toll this took on her broke our heart and we vowed to do all we could to ensure she never had to endure this kind of abuse in high school."
She goes on to describe the emotional impact of being banned from the girls' locker room and disciplined when she used the facilities, saying, "she was inconsolable and all we could do was hold her and tell her that we loved her."
In a statement after the Nov. 2 decision, district officials said that they made reasonable accommodations, and the policy the department "seeks to impose on District 211 is a serious overreach with precedent-setting implications."
Settlement negotiations continue with the federal education department and the district, which risks losing up to $6 million in federal funding if it can't reach an agreement.