On November 2, 2015, the federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) alleged that District 211 was not providing a transgender student with an equal opportunity to benefit from its educational program because the District failed to provide full, unrestricted locker room access. OCR threatened to pursue enforcement action against the District to withhold federal funding unless a resolution was reached within 30 days. The District disagreed with OCR’s allegation because of the simple but important reason that gender is not the same as anatomy. After many weeks of intense discussions and negotiations, the District has now reached a resolution agreement with OCR that stands in stark contrast from their letter of findings. The agreement protects student privacy and will best serve our total school community.
Frequently Asked Questions
The District will take each of the following actions:
– Engage a consultant expert in child and adolescent gender identity.
– Based on the representation of the student who brought the complaint that the student will use private changing stations in the locker room, provide the student access to the locker room facility consistent with the students’ gender identity.
– Provide private changing stations and other privacy alternatives for use by any student.
– If requested, provide a support team to the individual student who brought the complaint.
– Revise the District’s nondiscrimination notice to provide additional information.
No. The Resolution Agreement pertains to one student in District 211 — the student who filed the original complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.
No. The Resolution Agreement pertains to one student in District 211 and does not extend to other students in District 211 or to other school districts.
No. Any transgender student granted access to the locker room of their identified gender will utilize a private changing station when changing clothes or showering.
Access will be provided by Friday, January 15, 2016.
The District has not identified the school that the individual student attends.
The District will not single out a transgender student and will not make any special notice to parents or students as to whether a transgender student is scheduled to be in the locker room during a particular period of the school day.
Individual bathroom stalls are available in all locker rooms. The District is in the process of making modifications throughout its locker rooms and shower areas to provide private changing stations as needed.
No. The District will coordinate with other schools hosting events and will attempt to make arrangements for access in the locker room.
The Resolution Agreement explicitly states that Township High School District 211 admits to no violation of any federal law or regulation.
Yes. The District has identified an expert in transgender identity among adolescents.
The District’s existing non-discrimination notice will be slightly modified to provide additional information regarding the District’s nondiscrimination policy. The notice will confirm that the District will not discriminate based on sex, which is completely consistent with the District’s practice. This change is not related to matters of transgender identity.
No. The District will retain access and eligibility to receive all of its federal funding without hindrance.
No. The Resolution Agreement will resolve the dispute and no legal proceedings will take place surrounding this individual’s complaint filed with the Office for Civil Rights.
OCR will receive updates from the District, and both parties anticipate that OCR will continue its monitoring of the information provided by the District until June 2017.