A school district in Palatine, Illinois — District 211 — is back in the national spotlight as a contentious legal battle over transgender-inclusive accommodation policies continues to make its way through the court system.
A lawsuit was filed in 2017 on behalf of a transgender student who alleged the district was restricting her from equitable access to changing facilities. Oral arguments for the case were scheduled to take place in the Daley Center in Chicago on Friday January 19. The arguments come three weeks after a federal judge rejected a request for a preliminary injunction to suspend the current trans-inclusive guidelines in place in the school district.
The request was submitted by the group “Students and Parents for Privacy” which is represented by anti-LGBT hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) along with the Thomas More Society. The most recent decision stated that transgender students should be permitted to continue using the restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. The judge added that the policy had been in place for three years without incident which undermined the “plaintiffs’ claim of irreparable harm.” Through the ruling does not impact the ultimate outcome of the civil case filed on behalf of the group, it does suggest that the judge “ doesn't believe the claim at the heart of the lawsuit — that the transgender policy infringes on the privacy rights of other students — has merit.”
This most recent legal struggle comes a year after a failed campaign to gain a majority share of the school board and a previous legal challenge to the districts’ accommodation policies. In 2015, a trans student from Palatine filed a complaint after being prohibited from accessing the restrooms and locker rooms appropriate for her gender. The Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education agreed with the student and the district ultimately implemented a more inclusive accommodations policy. As a result, a group of 50 families founded the group Students and Parents for Privacy that continues to fight the trans inclusive policy today.
Alliance Defending Freedom has been hyperfocused on trans students in their ongoing attacks at nondiscrimination protections. Reports by Media Matters documented that ADF has been actively working to undermine policies aimed at protecting trans students in at least eight states, including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. Media Matters reported that representatives from ADF have also been in attendance at several school board meetings in order to testify against inclusive accommodations policies. ADF has notoriously brought elements of hate and vitriol to public testimonies. At past school board meetings, parents engaged in anti-trans rhetoric and incendiary name calling. ADF has also targeted elected officials with prejudicial testimony, most recently in Wyoming.