Fifty-one families filed suit against a Chicago area school and two federal agencies Wednesday alleging the school allowed a transgender boy into women facilities after the Department of Education threatened to cut millions in funding.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a religious liberty legal group co-representing the families, says Township High School District 211 originally told the transgender student he could use the boy’s locker room or a single-sex restroom. But after the U.S. Department of Education threatened to Title IX funding, which amounted to about $6 million a year, the school relented. Title IX bans discrimination on the basis of sex, but the suit alleges that the DOE is abusing its authority and misinterpreting the law.
The student is taking hormones but is still anatomically a male.
The father of a female graduate of the high school said a boy who identifies as a girl walked in on his daughter while she was in the swimming locker room, and that she “was very upset by the intense invasion of her privacy.”
“It is not up to the school district to determine the time our daughters encounter a member of the opposite sex while in a state of undress but with this reckless policy that is exactly what happened,” the father said at a press conference announcing the suit Wednesday.
The ACLU of Illinois said ADF and The Thomas More Society are representing the lawsuit as one of many “publicity stunts.”
“Today’s lawsuit is a sad development by groups opposed to fair and humane treatment of all students, including those who are transgender,” Ed Yohnka, Communications and Public Policy Director for ACLU of Illinois, said in a statement.
The suit could end up setting serious precedent for how these transgender cases are handled going forward.
“No government agency can unilaterally redefine the meaning of a federal law to serve its own political ends,” ADF Legal Counsel Matt Sharp said in a statement. “The Department of Education is exceeding what it is legally and constitutionally allowed to do. In fact, at least five other federal and state courts have rejected the DOE’s interpretation of Title IX.”
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