Yesterday, federal authorities ruled that Township High School District 211 in Illinois violated a transgender student’s rights after the school prevented her from using the appropriate locker rooms at school.

“Education officials said the decision was the first of its kind on the rights of transgender students, which are emerging as a new cultural battleground in public schools across the country,” The New York Times explained. “In previous cases, federal officials had been able to reach settlements giving access to transgender students in similar situations. But in this instance, the school district in Palatine, Ill., has not yet come to an agreement, prompting the federal government to threaten sanctions.” 

While stories like this have made headlines before, the federal government’s action reiterates the administration’s commitment to transgender equality. 

“The Education Department gave 30 days to the officials of Township High School District 211 to reach a solution or face enforcement, which could include administrative law proceedings or a Justice Department court action,” The New York Times concluded. “The district could lose some or all of its Title IX funding.”  

This ruling comes on the heels of a landmark brief filed by the Department of Justice in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals supporting a transgender student whose school policy banned use of the appropriate bathrooms.

“All students deserve the opportunity to participate equally in school programs and activities — this is a basic civil right,” Catherine Lhamon, the Education Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Township High School District 211 is not following the law because the district continues to deny a female student the right to use the girls’ locker room.” 

Earlier this year, HRC Foundation released its newest guide, Schools In Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools. Made in partnership with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gender Spectrum, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Education Association, the guide is a first-of-its-kind resource providing a blueprint for safe, supportive and inclusive school environments for transgender youth.  

HRC is committed to providing the kinds of resources children, families and other youth-serving professionals need to support transgender youth. Click here to learn more.

Learn more about the case here.

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