- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

GLOUCESTER, Va. (AP) - The Gloucester County School Board has designated school restrooms as specific to students’ biological genders in response to complaints about a transgender student’s use of the boys’ restroom at Gloucester High School.

The board’s adoption of the gender-specific restroom policy on Tuesday night drew criticism from ACLU of Virginia and Equality Virginia. The groups say the policy is discriminatory and will violate federal Title IX requirements.

“We are deeply disappointed that the school board opted to discriminate against transgender students by prohibiting them from using appropriate bathrooms and locker rooms,” ACLU of Virginia Legal Director Rebecca Glenberg said in a news release. “Our school boards should be focused on making Virginia schools as inclusive and welcoming as possible. This new policy will do the opposite. Forcing transgender students to use segregated facilities not only violates federal law, but is also intensely stigmatizing.”

ACLU of Virginia said officials at the high school decided this fall to allow 10th-grader Gavin Grimm to use the boys’ restrooms and locker rooms.

Grimm told media outlets that he is a boy who was born female. He said he is taking hormone medicine and plans to have a sex change.

“While I’m disappointed, I’m very glad that the public has spoken,” Grimm said. “I’m glad the school board has spoken, and my fight is not over, because of the decision today. I am not the last transgender student who will ever be at Gloucester High School. I’m not the first who has ever been. This is a civil right issue, and I will stand up not only for my own rights, but the rights of every transgender student who will ever have to face this issue, both in Gloucester and the nation.”

The school board received complaints from some parents after Grimm began using the boys’ restroom. Several male students told the board Tuesday night that they are not comfortable being in the bathroom with a girl.

School Board Chairman Randy Burak said he believes the board’s action was in the best interest for all students.

Equality Virginia said Virginia’s public schools need uniform guidance from the state because the issue is not isolated to Gloucester County.

“Currently, the patchwork of different policies across Virginia is confusing and leaves many transgender students without protections that may be offered in another district or school,” the group said in a news release.

Grimm’s mother, Deirdre Grimm, said the family plans to explore ways to fight the school board’s decision.

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