Why A School's Transgender Locker Room Ban Could Cause 'Lifelong Injury'

A suburban Chicago school's battle heats up.

John Knight of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) joined HuffPost Live this week to discuss news that a suburban Chicago school district had banned a transgender girl from using a communal locker room.

Superintendent Daniel E. Cates of Township High School District 211 in Palatine, Illinois, said that the student, whose name has not been released, will be allowed to use a restroom in accordance with her gender identity, because there are private stalls. She can't use the communal locker room, he said, in order to “ensure a respectful school environment” and “protect the privacy of all students,” according to The Washington Post. 

Knight, whose organization is representing the student, slammed the statement in his interview, noting that his client has “been living her entire life outside and inside of school as a girl and is accepted by her classmates fully as a girl.”

"It's harmful to her every day to be sent this kind of message that she doesn't belong, that she's not one of the other girls," he said. "To be told that you can't be who you are, and particularly when you're young, can cause, really, lifelong injury to a student." 

The school district's decision goes against a federal ruling allowing transgender students to use the locker room of their preferred gender. However, Cates said although the district "fully supports" its transgender student body, they won't adopt the requirement because it infringes on the privacy of all students, according to the Associated Press

"The principles we stand on are firm," he said. 

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