HRC expressed disappointment in a decision today by the U.S. Supreme Court to halt a lower court’s order forbidding a Virginia school district from enforcing its discriminatory ban on transgender students using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. The 5-3 order in Gloucester County School Board v. Grimm allows the school board’s discriminatory policy to remain in place while the Supreme Court awaits an application by the school board to have its full appeal heard by the Supreme Court. A final decision in the case would likely occur well into the school year.
“Today’s Supreme Court order is deeply disappointing and subjects Gavin Grimm and students like him to unsafe and discriminatory conditions as they begin returning to school in the coming weeks,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “No young person should wake up in the morning fearful of bullying or discrimination during the school day ahead. Every day that discrimination is allowed to continue, transgender students are put at risk of harm. While we remain optimistic that this is a temporary setback in the larger effort to ensure that transgender students are treated with dignity and respect, time is of the essence and any delay infringes on these students’ right to a safe and quality education.”
In late May, the full Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a request by the Gloucester County School Board to rehear Grimm’s lawsuit. Grimm claims that the school district violated his federal civil rights under Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 by denying him access to the boy’s restroom consistent with his gender identity.
In April, a panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, in a 2-1 decision,the U.S. Department of Education’s interpretation of Title IX as protecting transgender students from discrimination, including allowing them to use restrooms consistent with their gender identity.