Court refuses injunction in transgender lawsuit against school district

PALATINE — A federal judge denied a request for a court order to block a transgender student’s use of the girls’ locker room on Tuesday.

The Daily Herald of Arlington Heights reported that federal Judge Jorge Alonso cited the availability of privacy stalls for all students in the locker rooms as a factor in deciding not to allow the injunction.

“This case does not involve the forced or extreme invasions of privacy that the courts addressed in the cases cited by plaintiffs,” Alonso wrote in the decision. “Further, the restrooms at issue here have privacy stalls that can be used by students seeking an additional layer of privacy, and single-use facilities are also available upon request. Given these protections, there is no meaningful risk that a student’s unclothed body need be seen by any other person.”

The injunction was part of a lawsuit by a transgender student, Student A, who first sued the district in 2016. While she has since graduated, the lawsuit is continuing. Other transgender students have since filed their own lawsuits over facilities access at District 211.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, which is representing Student A, praised the decision.

“Throughout this litigation, one thing remains clear. The groups who filed this case remain unable to demonstrate any harm to their clients from sharing restrooms and locker rooms with students who they perceive as different,” said John Knight, director of the ACLU of Illinois’ LGBTQ Project told the Herald. “The plaintiffs’ fearmongering and persistent refusal to respect the core gender of these students cannot change the simple fact that there is no legal justification for requiring District 211 to separate and stigmatize transgender students because of who they are.”

The residents group asking for the injunction was less than happy.

From the Daily Herald:

But granting the injunction would have set a precedent affecting other transgender students offered similar use of locker rooms in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211, said Gary McCaleb, senior counsel of Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom.

McCaleb’s organization is providing free legal representation to Students and Parents For Privacy, the group that sued Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 in 2016 to block Student A’s use of the girls locker room. Student A was born male but identifies as female.

“It’s not over. We will not rest until the privacy rights, dignity and well-being of all students are protected equally,” Students and Parents for Privacy posted on its Facebook page in response to Alonso’s ruling.

McCaleb questioned Alonso’s citing of the prior case Whitaker v. Kenosha Unified Sch. Dist. No. 1 Bd. of Education as a precedent for his decision because the plaintiffs in the District 211 case are claiming actual harm.

Students and Parents for Privacy have said they will appeal.

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