Supreme Court rules Virginia school can block transgender teen from using boys’ bathroom

by WorldTribune Staff, August 4, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court on Aug. 3 ruled that a Virginia school board can block a transgender teen from using the boys bathroom when the school year starts in September.

The high court, in a 5-3 decision, put on hold a lower court ruling that ordered the Gloucester County School Board to let Gavin Grimm use the bathroom that matches his gender identity.

635987338052375809-EPA-FILE-USA-SOCIETY-TRANSGENDER-BATHROOM-81826693“The school board welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision as the new school year approaches,” the Gloucester County School Board said in a news release. “The board continues to believe that its resolution of this complex matter fully considered the interests of all students and parents.”

The school board plans to formally ask the Supreme Court to review the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Grimm’s case by the end of August. It will likely take months before the justices decide whether to do so.

The decision means Grimm will be barred from using the boys bathroom for at least the first half of his senior year, said Josh Block, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who’s representing the teen.

Grimm was born female but identifies as male. He was allowed to use the boys restroom at his high school for several weeks in 2014. But after some parents complained, the school board adopted a policy requiring students to use either the restroom that corresponds with their biological gender or a private, single-stall restroom.

The school board said that allowing Grimm to use the boys restroom raises privacy concerns and may cause some parents to pull their children out of school.

Block said the Supreme Court’s decision means Grimm will begin another school year being “stigmatized and isolated from the rest of his peers just because he is transgender.”

If the justices agree to hear Grimm’s case, the order will remain on hold until the court makes a final ruling, the court’s ruling said. If they deny the school board’s petition for review, the order requiring the board to let Grimm use the boys bathroom will be reinstated.

The appeals court sided with Grimm in April, saying the federal judge who previously dismissed Grimm’s Title IX discrimination claim ignored a U.S. Department of Education rule that transgender students in public schools must be allowed to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan dissented. Justice Stephen Breyer said he agreed to put the case on hold to “preserve the status quo” until the court decides whether to weigh in.

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