Suburban School District's New Locker Room Policy Takes Effect

District 211's former policy requiring transgender students to change in privacy stalls is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit

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A suburban school district's new policy allowing transgender students unrestricted access to locker rooms took effect Tuesday after years of debate and legal proceedings.

Township High School District 211's new policy took effect less than two months after the district's board voted to approve the policy in a tense and emotional meeting last November.

The policy gives students at all five high schools in the district unrestricted access to locker rooms and bathrooms for the gender with which they identify. The school’s first policy on the issue, enacted in 2015, said that transgender students could use their preferred locker rooms, but had to use privacy stalls to change clothes before and after gym class.

District 211 is the largest high school district in Illinois and includes Palatine High School, Fremd High School, Conant High School, Hoffman Estates High School and Schaumburg High School.

Nova Maday, a transgender former student, filed a lawsuit against the district in November 2017 challenging the policy, alleging it was discriminatory.

Under the new policy, transgender students will not be required to use the privacy stalls, which will remain in place for any student who wishes to use them.

District officials said a letter was sent home with students informing parents of the new policy, and that the district received 33 requests for additional privacy, though 22 were withdrawn after further discussion with families.

The lawsuit filed against the district by Maday, who graduated in 2018, is still pending. She called the vote in November to change the policy a "huge step forward," saying she "jumped in joy" when she heard the news.

"Whatever your view on the policy, we all share the same goal of supporting the young people in our schools to experience the best possible learning environment and navigate the challenges and opportunities of young adulthood in healthy ways," District 211 Superintendent Dr. Daniel Cates said in a statement at the time of the school board's vote.

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