US: School district violated transgender student's rights

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
US Says Ill. District Violated Transgender Student's Rights

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. Department of Education said Monday that a suburban Chicago school district is violating the rights of a transgender student by refusing to allow her the unrestricted use of a girls' locker room.

Education Department officials and lawyers for the student say the decision was the first of its kind on the issue.

The student, with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a federal complaint against Illinois' Palatine Township School District 211, asking for unrestricted access to the locker room. The district had proposed a compromise that would allow access but require the student to change and shower in a separate area.

"All students deserve the opportunity to participate equally in school programs and activities — this is a basic civil right," Education Department Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon said in a statement. "Unfortunately, Township High School District 211 is not following the law because the district continues to deny a female student the right to use the girls' locker room."

Lhamon went on to say the district can provide access to the student while also respecting all students' privacy and encouraged the district to comply with the law and resolve the case.

District 211 has 30 days to change the policy, or risk losing millions in federal funding.

In a statement issued by the ACLU, the student, who hasn't been identified, said she was pleased by the Education Department's decision.

District 211 Superintendent Daniel Cates said in a statement the district does not agree with the department's stance.

The policy the department "seeks to impose on District 211 is a serious overreach with precedent-setting implications," Cates said. "District 211 continues to believe that what we offer is reasonable and honors every student's dignity."

Click before for famous transgender activists:

23 PHOTOS
Famous transgender activists
See Gallery
US: School district violated transgender student's rights
Laverne Cox poses in the press room at the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Sunday, June 28, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Chaz Bono arrives at the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards on Saturday, April 12, 2014. (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Tennis player Dr. Renee Richards, shown in action at stadium in Forest Hills, New York during U.S. Open tennis match on Sept. 1, 1977. (AP Photo/Dave Pickoff)
In this June 1, 2015 photo, a journalist looks at Vanity Fair's Twitter site with the Tweet about Caitlyn Jenner, who will be featured on the July cover of the magazine. Caitlyn Jenner, the transgender Olympic champion formerly known as Bruce, on Monday unveiled her new name and look in a sexy Vanity Fair cover shoot -- drawing widespread praise, including from the White House. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender campaigners -- and many well-wishers -- welcomed the high-profile debut, as did the 65-year-old Jenner's family, which includes the media-savvy celebrity Kardashian clan. 'I'm so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self,' Jenner wrote in her first tweet after the magazine released the July cover photo by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz. AFP PHOTO / MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Writer Janet Mock attends Marie Claire's Second-Annual New Guard Lunch at Hearst Tower on October 30, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Marie Claire)
FILE - In this Aug. 18, 2009 file photo, transgender activist and prominent AIDS leader Diego Sanchez talks about his work as a legislative assistant to Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., on Capitol Hill in Washington. Sanchez became the first transgender person named to the Democratic Party’s national platform committee. President Barack Obama, who established his bona fides as a gay and lesbian rights champion when he endorsed same-sex marriage, has steadily extended his administration’s advocacy to the community that comprises the smallest and least accepted band of the LGBT rainbow: transgender Americans. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Carmen Carrera attends the OUT100 2014 Awards at Stage 48 on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)
US transgender star Amanda Lepore arrives for the largest annual AIDS charity gala in Europe known as the Life Ball, at the Vienna International Airport near Schwechat, Austria, Friday, May 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Kye Allums attends the premiere screening of the MTV and Logo TV documentary "Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word" at the Paramount Screening Room on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)
U.S. Thomas Beatie, his wife Nancy and daughter Susan Juliette report in the RTL end-of-the-year review show "2008! People, Pictures, Emotions" in a TV studio in Huerth, western Germany, on Sunday evening, Dec. 7, 2008. The 34 years old Thomas Beatie was born as a women. After his sex change he was the first "pregnant man" in the world and he has born their daughter. Now he is in the second time in a pregnant situation , so he told in the show. (AP Photo/Hermann J. Knippertz)
Transgender former US Navy Seal Senior Chief Kristin Beck speaks during a conference entitled 'Perspectives on Transgender Military Service from Around the Globe' organized by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Palm Center in Washington on October 20, 2014. Transgender military personnel from 18 countries who allow them to serve openly, gathered to talk about their experiences and discuss whether the US military could join them. It is estimated that more than 15, 000 transgender personnel currently serve in the US military, but policy requires their separation if they are discovered, according to the ACLU. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
Dana Beyer poses for a portrait at her home in Chevy Chase, Md. on Monday, June 9, 2008. Beyer is a transgender activist in Maryland's Montgomery County, where the county council voted 8-0 last year to extend civil rights protections on the basis of gender identity. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Transgendered novelist and Colby College english professor Jennifer Finney Boylan, poses Monday, march 3, 2008 at her home in Belgrade Lakes, Maine. Boylan, 49, has become an activist for the nation's transgendered and one of the most widely recognized transsexuals of recent years. (AP Photo/Joel Page)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MAY 07: Model Gigi Gorgeous attends the NYLON Young Hollywood Party presented by BCBGeneration at HYDE Sunset: Kitchen + Cocktails on May 7, 2015 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for NYLON)
Candis Cayne arrives to the 6th Annual Hollywood Style Awards on Sunday Oct. 11, 2009, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Katy Winn)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 13: Mixed martial artist Fallon Fox attends the 2013 Emery Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on November 13, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
Isis King attends the premiere screening of the MTV and Logo TV documentary "Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word" at the Paramount Screening Room on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP)
Lana Lawless is photographed with a golf club, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010, in San Francisco. Lawless, a former police officer who underwent a sex change operation five years ago, is challenging the LPGA's ban on transgender players. She filed a federal lawsuit late Tuesday in San Francisco federal court claiming the LPGA's "female at birth" requirement for competitors violates a California civil rights law. Lawless is seeking to prevent the LPGA from holding tournaments in the state until the organization changes its policy to admit transgender players. She is also seeking unspecified damages. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Model Lea T presents a creation by Teca by Helo Rocha during the 2016 Summer collections of the Sao Paulo Fashion Week in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on April 16, 2015. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
Jenna Talackova (R) arrives for a press conference in Los Angeles with her attorner Gloria Allred (out of frame) on April 3, 2012. Canada's Miss Universe pageant said it would allow the transgendered model to compete in its pageant as long as Canada recognizes her gender as a woman. Talackova was previously disqualified, she said, because she used to be male. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Director, writer and producer Lana Wachowski poses on arrival for the Los Angeles Premiere of the film 'Jupiter Ascending' in Hollywood, California on February 2, 2015. The film opens on February 6. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Caitlyn Jenner attends the 2016 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 28, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION
​​

The district will continue to have settlement negotiations with the Education Department and is "prepared to engage in all avenues of due process to determine whether our position of honoring the rights of all the students is within the law," Cates said.

ACLU lawyer John Knight said the complaint against the school district was filed two years ago, noting the student then had to dress for gym in a restroom. Knight said that when in the girl's locker room, his client is required to use a privacy curtain, which is not required for other girls and shames her.

Knight contends the district's position stems not from any issues raised by other students, but from "speculation" by the district's administration. He added that District 211's insistence on separating the student from other girls "is blatant discrimination."

"Rather than approaching this issue with sensitivity and dignity, the district has attempted to justify its conduct by challenging my client's identity as a girl," he said.

Cates contended that the "students in our schools are teenagers, not adults, and one's gender is not the same as one's anatomy."


More from AOL.com:
Iran Ayatollah: 'Death to America' refers to US policies
This model enrolled in school just to get student loan for plastic surgery
Study: Deaths rates rising in middle-aged whites

Read Full Story

People are Reading