As the national debate over bathrooms for transgender people grows more contentious, Chicago Public Schools said its students, teachers and staff could use whichever restroom matches their gender identity. CPS officials are diving into the issue amid a torrent of legislation and ordinances across the country that calls for transgender people to use facilities matching their sex at birth.
The new policies, announced Tuesday, provide for the first time clear guidance on restroom, locker room and overnight trip accessibility as well as guidelines for transgender employees and adults at the nation’s third largest public school district.
Students and employees within Chicago’s school district, which includes 392,000 students and 660 schools, will have access to restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity. The school district also says anyone who wants more privacy—regardless of the reason—will have access to a single-stall when it’s available.
“CPS, like much of the country, has become far more aware of the needs and experiences of the transgender community, and it’s crucial for CPS guidelines to reflect our commitment to promoting safe and inclusive schools,” said Janice Jackson, Chicago Public Schools chief education officers. “These guidelines build on our commitment to fostering healthy and supportive learning opportunities across the District so that each of our students can reach their full potential.”