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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 lead editor of Illinois Issues' feature articles, working with freelance writers, and covering the equity beat. Maureen joined the Illinois Issues in 1998 as projects editor. Previously, she worked at three Illinois daily newspapers, most recently the suburban Chicago-based Daily Herald, where she served stints as an education reporter and copy editor. She graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's in journalism. She also has a master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
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