- In a statement, the Chief Education Officer of Chicago Public Schools, which is the third largest school district in the country, announced transgender students will be able to use locker rooms and bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
- The decision comes at a time when other states, like North Carolina, have passed controversial legislation requiring transgender people to use restrooms that correspond with the sex listed on their birth certificates.
- Chicago's new policies for the district are also applicable to adults who are transgender, including school employees and volunteers.
Not everyone in Illinois is accepting the milestone announcement.
A group of parents and students from nearby Township High School District 211 in nearby Palatine Wednesday filed a suit against the district and the U.S. Department of Education alleging that by allowing a transgender student to use the girls' locker room, officials are trampling "students' privacy" and creating an "intimidating and hostile environment" for other students, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Still, the trend towards greater inclusion and respect for students' gender identities will likely expand. The U.S. Department of Justice put North Carolina officials on notice Wednesday, saying if legislators don't say whether they will "comply with or implement HB2," billions of dollars in federal education funding could be at stake. DOJ said the law violates Title IX protections against gender discrimination in education, as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which addresses workplace discrimination.
The Charlotte Observer reports state public schools received $861 million, while the University of North Carolina system received $1.4 billion in federal funding, which could all be in jeopardy for next year, if the bill is not struck down. With states already grappling with persistent budget shortfalls, it is not likely many will risk the loss of federal education funding if DOJ holds the line.