Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old transgender student, was denied the use of the boys' restroom at Gloucester High School. The ACLU filed suit on Grimm's behalf, arguing that Grimm's Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated, and that the Gloucester School Board violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by denying him the use of the boys' restroom and locker room. Photo courtesy the American Civil Liberties Union
WASHINGTON, July 14 (UPI) -- A Virginia school board on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to block a lower court order that will allow a transgender student to use the boys' restroom when school begins.
The Gloucester County School Board urged the Supreme Court to block the order while it decides whether to review the controversial case. The case revolves around Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old who is female but identifies as male. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the school board on Grimm's behalf after the board determined Grimm should not be allowed to use the boys' restroom.
In April, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of Grimm, saying a lower court should have deferred to the federal government's interpretation that Title IX protects transgender students. A federal judge later filed an injunction to guarantee Grimm has access to the boys' restroom.
The Gloucester County School Board wants to block the appeals court decision. The board plans to file its petition for Supreme Court review by late August. Grimm's school year begins in September.
"For decades, our nation's schools have structured their facilities and programs around the sensible idea that in certain intimate settings men and women may be separated 'to afford members of each sex privacy from the other sex,'" the Gloucester County School Board said in its petition. "Depriving parents of any say over whether their children should be exposed to members of the opposite biological sex, possibly in a state of full or complete undress, in intimate settings deprives parents of their right to direct the education and upbringing of their children."
The school had decided that boys' and girls' bathrooms were limited to "corresponding biological genders" before creating a unisex bathroom Grimm could use later. Grimm sued, arguing the school's policy violated his rights under Title IX -- an argument the appeals court supported.
Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 states that: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."
A 2015 interpretation of Title IX by the Department of Education said that when a school acts to treat students differently on the basis of sex, schools "generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity."