Ignoring Parents' Pleas for Privacy, Chicago Area High School Prepares to Allow Boys Access to Girls' Locker Room
Palatine High School, outside of Chicago, has been battling parents for the last four years to put boys in the girls' locker room. The school board held the first of several readings of a new policy Thursday evening and listened to public comment, which was overwhelmingly against allowing transgender students unfettered access to sex-specific spaces. Parent after parent told the board that their students are uncomfortable undressing in front of the opposite sex. But these days, only the comfort and privacy of transgender children counts, as the ACLU of Illinois confirms in a statement they gave to the Chicago Tribune.
“After years of resisting, we are pleased to see the district’s leadership has recognized that students who are transgender deserve to be treated fairly and equally in every way, and deserve dignity and respect in all aspects of their lives,” said ACLU attorney Ghirlandi Guidetti. “We look forward to District 211 joining the roster of schools across Illinois who provide this fair treatment for all of their students.”
All of their students? Really? What about the students who don't want kids of the opposite sex watching them change? What about the girls who have been victims of sexual assault and are scared to be in a state of undress near a biological boy? How does the ACLU twist itself into a pretzel to claim that this rule will be "fair" to all students?
PJ Media reached out to the ACLU for clarification and was told that the Department of Education "did an investigation and found that no one is really undressing in there." The ACLU spokesperson continued: "They found that most students undress under a large t-shirt, or something like that." Of course, the reason the girls may be undressing underneath t-shirts could be because they are uncomfortable undressing in front of boys. But what do I know?
Parents who have been trying to reverse the invasion of sex-specific spaces for the last four years are angry. The Facebook page D211 Parents for Privacy was created to fight these policies when they first started. Spokesperson Vicki Wilson spoke to PJ Media about the controversy and said that the ACLU's explanation is false. "There are swimming classes. How are you supposed to get into a swimsuit without being totally naked?"
The ACLU spokesperson refused to answer that question when it was posed to him and instead referred back to the DOE's investigation from four years ago that found that no one changes in the girls' changing room.
This new written policy, introduced on Thursday night, will override the old unwritten rule that transgender students could have access to the locker room but were asked to change behind a privacy screen.
The district had already made these accommodations for "Student A" four years ago. A new transgender student, Nova Maday, is suing over the policy of using privacy screens. He wants to get into the same room the girls are all changing in and force them to watch him undress, regardless of how uncomfortable they are with that arrangement. The new school policy, if passed, will see to it that he gets his way.
In 2017, student Nova Maday filed a lawsuit claiming the district restricted her to an “unspecified private changing area within the locker room.” Maday, who graduated last year, told the Tribune in 2017 that the separate changing area singled her out and often made her late to class, impacting her grade. “It felt humiliating,” she [sic] had said. “It really felt like they were making me stand out and pushing me off to the side, in a literal sense.”
Maday sued the school to force them to put him in with the girls and violate their privacy. He's asking for monetary damages for suffering.
Transgender rights organizations like the ACLU call this "fair." What it actually does is victimize biological girls who have a right to privacy. The ACLU refutes this and told PJM that "anyone can utilize the privacy screen. It's important that it's a choice to use it and not force." But parents who filed a lawsuit three years ago alleged that their girls were not allowed to use private changing rooms. Worse, an Illinois judge deciding if the parents' lawsuit against the district could go forward decided girls don't have a right to visual privacy, even though he admitted that the students in this district “are at continual risk of encountering (and sometimes do encounter), without their consent, members of the opposite sex while disrobing, showering, urinating, defecating and while changing tampons and feminine napkins.”
Are. You. Kidding. Me?
The parents who sued years ago have withdrawn the lawsuit because the court system is so slow that the boys at issue graduated, but they are carefully watching this decision to determine whether they will refile. PJM reached out to Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the parents in the case.
As the district court recently ruled in this case, the Students and Parents for Privacy association "has pleaded far more than is necessary…to state a claim for sexual harassment" under Title IX. However, both male students whom the school district authorized to use the girls’ locker room have since graduated. As the court acknowledged the serious Title IX and religious freedom issues, we will actively monitor the situation. If new conflicts arise because the school district allows opposite-sex use of boys’ or girls’ privacy facilities, such as locker rooms, we will take appropriate legal action.
Wilson told PJM that many parents are upset with the district's decision to give boys full access to the girls' locker room, including showers. "There's no reason to do this. The federal funds under Title IX that the Obama administration threatened to take away if schools did not agree to allowing anyone access [to locker rooms and bathrooms that correspond with their preferred gender] does not exist anymore," she said. "They are giving into the bullies." The Trump administration reversed the Obama policy that would punish schools for not letting boys in the girls' bathrooms and private spaces in 2017. A statement was released by the Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos:
The guidance issued by the previous administration has given rise to several legal questions. As a result, a federal court in August 2016 issued a nationwide injunction barring the Department from enforcing a portion of its application. Since that time, the Department has not enforced that part of the guidance, thus there is no immediate impact to students by rescinding this guidance.
This is an issue best solved at the state and local level. Schools, communities, and families can find – and in many cases have found – solutions that protect all students.
However, Illinois being what it is (a Democrat-controlled hell on earth), the Human Rights Commission has issued an edict ordering schools to bend over backward for the transgender movement and allow anyone who wants unfettered access to use whatever locker room suits their fancy.
The D211 school board has several more meetings planned to discuss this quandry and public turn out is expected to be big. Video of last night's board meeting and public comment was taken by Wilson. (The picture will turn the right way at the 6-minute mark and public comment starts 21 minutes in. Many more citizens opposed to this showed up to speak but only 25 were allowed by lottery.)
Megan Fox is the author of "Believe Evidence; the death of due process from Salome to #MeToo" and "Shut Up! The Bizarre War that One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment. Follow her @MeganFoxWriter on Twitter.