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Case Name Department of Education investigation of Township High School District 211 (Palatine, IL) ED-IL-0006
Docket / Court 05-14-1055 ( No Court )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Education
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
In 2014, a transgender high school student filed a Title IX complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) against Township High School District 211, in Palatine, Illinois. Represented by the ACLU of Illinois, the plaintiff asked for an order allowing her to use the ... read more >
In 2014, a transgender high school student filed a Title IX complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) against Township High School District 211, in Palatine, Illinois. Represented by the ACLU of Illinois, the plaintiff asked for an order allowing her to use the girls' locker rooms, claiming that not allowing her to do so constituted discrimination on the basis of sex. Specifically, the complainant claimed that she was forced to change in restrooms that lacked equal facilities, was reprimanded after entering girls' locker rooms where no one was changing in order to take advantage of the better facilities, and that her arrangement differentiated her from other female students and gave students a reason to treat her differently.

On July 13, 2015, OCR notified the school district of its decision that the school district's treatment of the complainant constituted sex discrimination in violation of Title IX; the parties began negotiating an agreement. Attempts to resolve the resolution voluntarily ultimately failed and the parties were at an impasse.

On November 2, 2015, OCR released a letter of findings detailing its findings about the district's Title IX violation and declaring that if an agreement was not reached within thirty days, it would issue a letter of impending enforcement action, potentially suspending the district's federal funding or referring the case to the Department of Justice.

Under this strong pressure, the school district agreed to a settlement on December 3, 2015. The resolution agreement included the following commitments by the district:
  • Provide the student with access to the girls' locker rooms at her high school based on the student's request to change in private changing stations in the girls' locker rooms.
  • Protect the privacy of its students by installing sufficient privacy curtains within the girls' locker rooms at the high school to accommodate the transgender student and any students who wish to be assured of privacy.
  • Provide a reasonable alternative for any student requesting additional privacy.


According to the agreement, the parties anticipated closing the monitoring of this Agreement by June 30, 2017.

In May 2016, the Department of Education and the Department of Justice published a Dear Colleague Letter finding that discrimination against transgender students violates Title IX. Citing this case, the letter stated that schools must allow students to use locker rooms and bathrooms consistent with their gender identity and may not require transgender students to use separate, individual facilities. However, schools may make individual facilities available to students who seek additional privacy. In February 2017, the Trump Administration withdrew the 2016 guidance, asserting instead that states and local school districts should be responsible for determining educational policies related to transgender students.

As previously agreed, the OCR closed its monitoring of this voluntary resolution agreement on June 30, 2017.

Katherine Reineck - 11/15/2015
Hope Brinn - 10/30/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitoring
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Required disclosure
Student assignment
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Gender identity
Sex discrimination
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. ยงยง 1681 et seq.
Defendant(s) Township High School District 211
Plaintiff Description A transgender high school student who was denied access to girls' locker rooms
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2015 - 2017
Filing Year 2014
Case Closing Year 2017
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  February 22, 2017 Dear Colleague Letter
United States Department of Education
Date: Feb. 22, 2018
By: Sandra Battle, T.E. Wheeler II (US Department of Education, US Department of Justice)
Citation: Sandra Battle, Acting Assistant Sec'y for Civil Rights, U.S. Dep't of Educ., Dear Colleague Letter (Feb. 22, 2017), https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201702-title-ix.pdf.
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  May 13, 2016 Dear Colleague Letter
U.S. Department of Education
Date: May 13, 2016
By: Catherine E. Lhamon, Vanita Gupta (U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Justice)
Citation: Catherine E. Lhamon, Assistant Sec'y for Civil Rights, U.S. Dep't of Educ., Dear Colleague Letter (May 13, 2016), https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201605-title-ix-transgender.pdf.
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Discrimination Complaint of [student] Against [high school]
ED-IL-0006-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/05/2013
Source: Plaintiffs' counsel
Letter of Findings
ED-IL-0006-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 11/02/2015
AGREEMENT TO RESOLVE Between Township High School District 211 and the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
ED-IL-0006-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/02/2015
Plaintiff's Lawyers Knight, John A. (Illinois)
ED-IL-0006-0003
Rapport, Adele (Michigan)
ED-IL-0006-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Smith, Jennifer A (Illinois)
ED-IL-0006-0001

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