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Virginia faculty board agrees to $1.3M settlement over transgender lavatory coverage

A Virginia faculty board agreed to pay $1.three million in settling a federal discrimination lawsuit introduced by a transgender former pupil barred from utilizing the boys’ restroom in highschool practically seven years in the past. 

The American Civil Liberties Union introduced Thursday that the Gloucester County Faculty Board agreed to pay $1.three million in lawyer charges and prices associated to the filed on behalf by Gavin Grimm. 

“We gained,” Grimm, now 22, tweeted. “Honored to have been a part of this victory.”

Grimm advised Insider he is not going to personally obtain any funds from the payout. He beforehand introduced in January 2020 that he was elected to the ACLU Board of Administrators for a one-year time period. 


“The insurance coverage supplier for the Gloucester County Faculty Board has addressed the Plaintiff’s request for lawyer charges and prices ensuing from the Grimm v. Gloucester County Faculty Board litigation,” the college board stated in an announcement Thursday. “The Faculty Board has no additional touch upon this matter.” 

As a 15-year-old pupil at Gloucester Excessive Faculty, Grimm was banned from utilizing the boys’ lavatory. A faculty board coverage required Grimm to make use of restrooms that corresponded along with his organic intercourse — feminine — or non-public loos. He filed a federal lawsuit that wound its method by means of the courts for six years. 

“That is the third time in recent times that the Supreme Court docket has allowed appeals of court docket selections in assist of transgender college students to face,” Josh Block, senior workers lawyer with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Mission, stated in an announcement Thursday. “Our work isn’t but performed, and the ACLU is continuous to battle towards anti-trans legal guidelines concentrating on trans youth in states across the nation.”

Grimm filed his lawsuit in 2015 and argued that he suffered from urinary tract infections from avoiding faculty loos in addition to suicidal ideas that led to hospitalization. 

In this March 6, 2017, file photo, Gloucester County High School senior Gavin Grimm, a transgender student, speaks during a news conference in Richmond, Virginia. The Gloucester County School Board has agreed to pay $1.3 million in legal costs to the American Civil Liberties Union after the nonprofit spent six years representing a student who sued over the board's transgender bathroom ban. 

On this March 6, 2017, file photograph, Gloucester County Excessive Faculty senior Gavin Grimm, a transgender pupil, speaks throughout a information convention in Richmond, Virginia. The Gloucester County Faculty Board has agreed to pay $1.three million in authorized prices to the American Civil Liberties Union after the nonprofit spent six years representing a pupil who sued over the board’s transgender lavatory ban.  (AP Photograph/Steve Helber)

The Supreme Court docket was scheduled to listen to Grimm’s case in 2017, however it was despatched again to the decrease courts after the Trump administration rescinded an Obama-era directive that college students can select loos corresponding with their gender identification. 

Grimm’s case was heard once more in U.S. District Court docket in Norfolk in 2019 and by the 4th Circuit Court docket of Appeals in 2020. Each dominated that the board’s coverage violated Title IX, a federal civil rights regulation barring sex-based discrimination in any faculty that receives federal cash. 

In addition they discovered it violated the U.S. Structure’s Equal Safety Clause by prohibiting Grimm from utilizing the identical restrooms as different boys and forcing him to make use of separate restrooms. The Supreme Court docket in June refused to listen to the case, relying as an alternative on the decrease courts’ rulings that sided with Grimm. Bust conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito stated they might have heard the case. 

In its petition asking the Supreme Court docket to listen to the case, the college board argued that its lavatory coverage poses a “urgent federal query of nationwide significance.” The board argued beforehand that federal legal guidelines shield towards discrimination based mostly on intercourse, not gender identification. As a result of Grimm had not undergone sex-reassignment surgical procedure and nonetheless had feminine genitalia, the board’s place has been that he remained anatomically a feminine.

The ACLU, which represented Grimm within the lawsuit, argued that federal regulation makes it clear transgender college students are shielded from discrimination. 

Individually final week, Grimm spoke at a distinct Virginia faculty board assembly. 

He addressed the Newport Information Faculty Board, which held an emergency assembly to rethink adopting steerage from the Virginia Division of Schooling to permit nonbinary and transgender college students to make use of loos and play on sports activities groups that correspond with their chosen identification, not delivery gender. The board narrowly voted Thursday to undertake the steerage, reversing an earlier choice to reject it, WAVY reported. 


In the meantime, the Chesapeake Faculty Board, additionally in Virginia, final week rejected implementing these state insurance policies that tackle the remedy of transgender and nonbinary college students.

Fox Information’ Emma Colton and The Related Press contributed to this report. 


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