An Illinois school district ruled Thursday that transgender students will have unrestricted access to bathrooms of their choice.
A school district held a meeting at Palatine High School in northwest Illinois where board members voted to give unrestricted locker room and restroom access to transgender students, the Chicago station WGN9 reported. The board voted for the decision in a meeting attended by almost 500 people, the publication reports.
“Students shall be treated and supported in a manner consistent with their gender identity, which shall include students having access to restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity,” the new school policy says, according to WGN9.
The decision comes after four years of controversy between parents, students, and the board. The U.S. Department of Education ruled in 2015 that the school district where the high school is located, District 211, violated federal law by banning a student from using the girl’s locker room, according to Advocate. The district eventually said that the student could use the girl’s locker room, prompting new outrage and lawsuits from parents and students represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Parents and students spoke out who were worried about their children’s privacy ahead of the ruling. But transgender students also spoke up, saying that the school was impeding students by not allowing them to use the bathroom of their choice.
“The district should be helping transgender students, not putting more obstacles in front of them, because they face enough already,” said Palatine High School senior Mandy Logan, according to WGN9.
Transgender student Nova Maday, who filed one of two lawsuits against the high school in 2017, told the publication that she did so to “help other students.” Maday’s lawsuit asked that the trans student be able to change in the common area of the girl’s locker room rather than a private room, according to the Advocate.
“This wasn’t even just about me, either,” Maday said, according to WGN9. “When I started this I knew almost certainly it wouldn’t benefit myself. I did this to help other students in the district, so they didn’t have to go through what I’ve been going through.”
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