Illinois Human Rights Commission Rules in Favor of Transgender Student’s Use of a Communal Restroom

On October 7, 2019, the Illinois Human Rights Commission ruled that a transgender student was allowed full and equal use of a restroom that matches the student’s gender identity.

In 2015, a Chicago area school district, Komarek School District No. 94, denied a student the ability to use the communal boys’ restroom at the school. Instead, the district decided to have him use the male staff members’ bathroom.  Subsequently, a complaint was filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights by the student’s parents on behalf of the student.

In October, the Human Rights Commission held that this treatment of the student was considered discrimination based on gender-related identity and ordered the district to give the transgender student access to the communal boys’ restroom. Moreover, the district was ordered to cover attorneys’ fees and pay the student $155,000 for emotional distress.

This decision is similar to an earlier case the Commission ruled on in July. In that case, Lake Park Community District No. 108 was found to have violated a transgender student’s rights when it required the student to use a privacy curtain to change clothes in the locker room.

These two decisions are significant for Illinois schools as school districts begin to consider new policies. Please contact HLERK if you have any questions on accommodating transgender students.

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