U.S. District Court sides with Gavin Grimm

Kim Robins - Posted on Aug 14, 2019 - 02:45 PM

A federal district court judge has ruled in favor of former Gloucester High School student Gavin Grimm and his discrimination suit against the Gloucester County School Board.

Judge Arenda L. Wright Allen of the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia granted Grimm’s request for summary judgment Friday, ruling that the school board violated Grimm’s rights under Title IX and the 14th Amendment. 

The court also issued a permanent injunction requiring the board to update Grimm’s official school record to conform to the male designation on his updated birth certificate. In addition, the court awarded Grimm nominal damages of one dollar and ordered the board to pay Grimm’s costs and attorney’s fees.

“It is such a relief to achieve this closure and vindication from the court after four years of fighting not just for myself but for trans youth across America,” Grimm said in a release from the Virginia ACLU. 

The school board was scheduled to discuss the Grimm case during the closed session of its meeting Tuesday but took no action on the matter after returning to open session, according to school division superintendent Walter Clemons. Clemons said the board would issue a statement Friday regarding the decision by the U.S. District Court.

Grimm was born a female and initially attended Gloucester County Public Schools as a girl. In 2014, Grimm told his parents he was transgender and identified as a boy. He was soon after diagnosed with gender dysphoria and changed his first name to Gavin. 

Grimm was a sophomore at Gloucester High School in the fall of 2014 and arrangements were made for him to use the restroom in the nurse’s office. When he found this stigmatizing, Grimm asked to use the male restrooms at GHS.

The school administration agreed to the request but parents and other county residents complained after learning about it and voiced their opposition publicly to the school board. 

In response, the board passed a policy limiting restroom and locker room use to corresponding biological genders and said it would provide alternative facilities for transgender students. This led to the installation of some single-stall restrooms at GHS. 

In June 2015, the ACLU and the ACLU of Virginia sued the board on Grimm’s behalf, claiming its policy violated Grimm’s rights under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.