Victory in District 211!
After several years of litigation in Township High School District 211, Students and Parents for Privacy (“SPP”) has dropped their lawsuit against the school district. Students in District 211 will continue to be able to use restrooms and locker rooms in line with their gender identity.
The lawsuit was filed in May 2016 after a student identified as Student A was allowed to use the girls’ locker rooms and restrooms at her high school rather than being forced to dress and use the restroom in a separate facility from her fellow students. Student A’s use of the locker room was allowed as part of an agreement between the school district and the United States Department of Education finalized in December 2015.
In the same month the lawsuit was filed, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (“the Alliance”), along with three students who, at the time, attended, or would attend school in District 211 in the near future, became intervenor-defendants in the case. The Alliance and the students were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Illinois, and Mayer Brown LLP.
The group of parents and students calling themselves Students and Parents for Privacy filed a lawsuit with the help of two anti-LGBT legal organizations to challenge District 211’s agreement with Student A, as well as District 211’s practice of allowing Student A and other transgender students to use gender-appropriate restrooms. A federal magistrate judge earlier rejected the plaintiffs’ efforts to seek a temporary injunction, a decision confirmed by Judge Alonso on December 29, 2017.
Since the ruling on their injunction, the case has developed slowly, and the judge decided to allow it to continue despite Student A’s graduation from the school district.
But on April 12, 2019, Students and Parents for Privacy (P4P) moved to voluntarily dismiss their lawsuit against Township High School District 211. The Judge approved the dismissal.
We do not know why SPP decided to drop their suit against District 211, but we are glad that they are not pursuing their lawsuit further. While District 211 still has more work to do to improve their locker room practices, as evidenced in Maday v District 211, this case is now one of many across the United States that reaffirms that transgender students have a right to use facilities in line with their gender.