This is horrifying.
President Barack Obama’s Department of Education has threatened to cut funding to an Illinois school district if it doesn’t allow a male transgender student to use the girl’s locker room and showers, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Palatine Township High School District 211 has been given one month to comply with the order from the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights or risk losing all federal funding.
The Daily Caller is reporting that the DOE is using the Title IX provision of a 1972 law regarding discrimination in schools based on sex to make their case for the transgender student, a male who in all other ways identifies as a female.
It is worth noting that the school has already bent over backward to accommodate the student, listing him as a girl in its files, allowing him to use the girl’s restrooms as well as play on the girl’s sports teams, and even providing a separate shower facility.
But having to shower in a separate facility is considered “blatant discrimination” by Joe Knight, director of the LGBT and AIDS Project at ACLU of Illinois, the group representing the student.
“It’s one thing to say to all the girls, ‘You can choose if you want some extra privacy,’ but it’s another thing to say, ‘You, and you alone, must use them.’ That sends a pretty strong signal to her that she’s not accepted and the district does not see her as girl,” Knight told the Tribune.
Obama’s DOE agreed in a letter Monday from their civil rights division, which proclaimed, “Student A has not only received an unequal opportunity to benefit from the District’s educational program, but has also experienced an ongoing sense of isolation and ostracism throughout her high school enrollment at the school.”
But the school had already worked out a plan that would accommodate the student while also protecting “the privacy rights of all students when changing clothes or showering before or after physical education and after-school activities,” according to the Chicago Daily Herald.
“We are very hopeful that we are going to be able to work to find a solution before this gets to the matter of funding,” said district superintendent Daniel Cates. “If we were to implement OCR’s unilateral mandate of unconditional access, we believe it sacrifices both student privacy and overrides the will of our local board of education.”
“The students in our schools are teenagers, not adults, and one’s gender is not the same as one’s anatomy,” Cates said. “Boys and girls are in separate locker rooms — where there are open changing areas and open shower facilities — for a reason.”