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Palatine-Schaumburg High School District To Rule On Locker Room Access For Transgender Students

PALATINE, Ill. (CBS) -- The Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 will vote Thursday on whether transgender students may have unrestricted access to locker rooms and restrooms.

For almost four years, transgender students in the district have had to use the nurse's office or private stalls to change clothes.

The vote by the board on Thursday on whether to change that will be private, but there will be an open session afterward.

The issue goes back to 2015, when a transgender student only known as "Student A," and who identified as a girl and wanted to use the girls' locker room, was not given unrestricted access.

The federal Office of Civil Rights at the time said that was a violation of non-discrimination law and give the district 30 days to comply or else jeopardize its Title IX funding.

The district reached an agreement with the government and allowed that student to use a private changing stall in the girls' locker room, but did not adopt a district-wide policy on the issue, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

Student Nova Maday, who is also transgender and identifies as female, sued the district separately in 2017 over locker room access.

Maday told CBS 2's Mai Martinez at the time that she began living as a girl in her freshman year at Palatine High School. But instead of being allowed to use the locker room, school officials said she could change in the nurse's office or a private area.

Maday said in 2017 that she had never had any of the other girls tell her they are uncomfortable with her changing in the same locker room and, as a result, did not understand the motives behind the school district's way of handling the situation.

Thomas Olp, senior counsel for the Thomas More Society – which was allowed to intervene in Maday's lawsuit – said because Maday is anatomically male, she could be restricted from the girls' locker room.

Maday's attorneys said the fact she is anatomically male has nothing to do with her gender identity, and should have no relevance on whether she's allowed access to the girls' locker room.

In January 2018, a judge sided with the school districrt and denied a motion for a preliminary injunction that would have allowed Maday to use the girls' locker room the second semester of her senior year. Maday appealed, but the Illinois Appellate Court ruled that the matter was moot once Maday graduated.

Meanwhile, another group, Parents for Privacy, had sued in favor of restricting transgender restroom and locker room access. The group dropped their lawsuit in April.

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