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Supporters Of Trans Students Say Suit's Dismissal Sets Precedent

ACLU of Illinois

A suburban parents’ group dropped its lawsuit that attempted to ban transgender students from using school restrooms and locker rooms associated with their gender identity, a move that supporters of transgender students say helps affirm the rights of  students across the state.  

The group is from a Palatine-based school district, and the lawyer representing them did not say why they decided to drop the suit, which a judge then dismissed. The Alliance Defending Freedom’s Gary McCaleb, a co-counsel in the case, said, “If new conflicts arise from the school district allowing opposite-sex use of privacy facilities such as locker rooms and restrooms, we will take appropriate legal action.’

But, Ed Yohnka, with the ACLU of  says he believes this sets a precedent… that future legal attacks on districts with, what he calls, open and inclusive policies will not be successful.

“This idea of rolling back those districts where good policies have been put in place has really lost any energy and steam,” he said.

He also said he hopes more districts follow the lead of those that have open and inclusive policies related to transgender students such as the Chicago Public Schools, Elgin U-46, Glenbard District 87 in DuPage County and the Williamsville district near Springfield.

Rodrigo Anzures, with the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, says,  “If schools can feel more secure, that they won't be sued or that they won't be held liable for any reason for supporting the transstudents, I think that's always a good thing.”

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is news editor and equity and justice beat reporter for NPR Illinois, where she has been on the staff since 2014 after Illinois Issues magazine’s merger with the station. She joined the magazine’s staff in 1998 as projects editor and became managing editor in 2003. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois Springfield, she was an education reporter and copy editor at three local newspapers, including the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in English from UIS.
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