CHICAGO – Monday, U.S. District Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert heard oral arguments at Chicago's Dirksen Building from those opposed to District 211's policies of allowing transgenders to use bathrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex.
The Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel requested the judge issue an order that would halt those policies at Township High School District 211 in Palatine while the lawsuit of 51 families against the policies proceeds in court.
“School districts have a duty to protect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students at their schools, yet the school district and the Department of Education have put their political preferences ahead of that and ahead of the law,” said ADF attorney Jeremy Tedesco.
“The court should suspend the district’s privacy-violating policies and order the departments of Education and Justice to stop bullying school districts into following their unlawful interpretations of federal law.”
Those supporting the policy of transgenders using opposite sex restrooms and locker rooms were represented by the Illinois ACLU, who said the ADF's arguments were insensitive because they refused to acknowledge the transgender student was a "she."
First, the lawyers for the plaintiffs refuse to recognize that Student A is a girl and that transgender students must be treated according to their gender identity for purposes of gendered spaces such as restroom and locker rooms. Their confusion and insensitivity was demonstrated anew by the lawyers’ decision to mis-gender our client and to assert that transgender people are delusional while intersex persons are “imperfections of nature.”
The ACLU also said the ADF attorney failed to show any harm the current policy would bring upon the female students:
At the same time, the plaintiffs failed to explain or demonstrate any harm to female students sharing the locker room with Student A, while failing to recognize the clear harm that would result from the relief that have sought – exclusion of Student A and other transgender students from the restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity, which challenges their basic identity and humanity, suggests that they should be ashamed of who they are, and puts them at serious of long-term emotional and psychological injury.
The controversy erupted earlier this year, when the district opened its schools’ restrooms to the opposite sex – without informing parents – and then opened the girls’ locker room to a boy after the U.S. Department of Education threatened the district’s federal funding.
"The agency based its threat on its unlawful interpretation of Title IX, a 1972 federal law that prohibits schools from discriminating 'on the basis of sex,'" the ADF attorney argued. "Contrary to the agency’s current directives, Title IX’s existing regulations specifically state that a school receiving federal funds can “provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex” without putting that funding at risk.
The lawsuit, filed by families representing over 130 students and parents, contends that DOE is unlawfully redefining the terms of Title IX, something that only Congress can alter, and is illegitimately forcing its will on school districts.
“The Department of Education, which enforces Title IX to ensure girls receive an education with access to facilities comparable to boys, has created a hostile learning environment, and the school is complicit,” the ADF motion for preliminary injunction filed in May with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois states.
“Ignoring legally required procedures, DOE created a rule that, for the first time, requires schools to let students use facilities according to their perceived gender, no matter their biological sex. And it enforced that rule on the District. Both DOE and the District ignore the violation of Plaintiffs’ and other students’ constitutional privacy rights.”
“Boys who perceive themselves as girls are still biologically, and anatomically, male,” the brief explains. “It violates and humiliates the girls that a boy might see them undressed, or that they might see him undressed, and that they have to share such intimate settings as a locker room or restroom."
"Children are not guinea pigs, and they should not be subjected to social experimentation to further political agendas as the price for a public education,” the brief says.
The ACLU said they were confident the judge would recognize the harm being done to their clients and other transgender students and deny the motion for a preliminary injunction.