Appeals Court Denies School’s Request to Rehear Transgender Student’s Rights Case

Hayley Miller

Yesterday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request by a Virginia school district to rehear the lawsuit filed by transgender student Gavin Grimm.

Grimm’s discrimination claim against Virginia’s Gloucester County School District alleged the district violated Title IX by denying him use of the boy’s restroom. In April, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision to instruct the federal district court to give deference to​ the Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 as protecting transgender students like Grimm from discrimination. Following th​at​ ruling, the Virginia school board appealed for a rehearing ​by the entire 15-judge panel.​  Yesterday, the full panel refused to rehear the case.​

The ruling comes as a number of states -- most recently South Carolina and Oklahoma-- have introduced legislation attacking transgender students by preventing their access to appropriate restroom and other facilities in schools.

In March, North Carolina became the first state in the country to enact a law attacking transgender students (one of several discriminatory provisions of the infamous HB2)​, even after similar proposals were being rejected across the country -- including a high-profile veto by the Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota.

The case now goes back to federal district court in Virginia for a decision more deferential to the Department of Education’s interpretation.

​HRC congratulates Gavin Grimm and his legal team at the ACLU.

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