- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The school board of Gloucester County, Virginia, has announced that it will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court whether federal law requires schools to allow restroom and locker room access on the basis of gender identity.

The school district said its solution of creating several unisex, single-stall restrooms was “a practical, nondiscriminatory answer that met everyone’s interests and properly balanced the needs of transgender students with other students’ right to bodily privacy.”

That policy was struck down in April by the Richmond-based U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, which said prohibiting students from using the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity violates Title IX.

“As such, the School Board intends to file a petition with the Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari,” the school board said in a statement.

The school board also filed a motion with the appeals court to take no further action until the Supreme Court has decided whether to hear the case.

The lawsuit was filed by high school student Gavin Grimm, who identifies as a boy and said the school board discriminated against transgender students by regulating restrooms on the basis of biological sex.

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The legal fight comes as the Obama administration has sought to interpret Title IX, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex in education, to apply to gender identity.

The president issued an order last month compelling public schools nationwide to permit access to intimate facilities on the basis of gender identity, or risk losing federal education funding. Eleven states have sued the administration over the edict, saying the executive does not have the authority to redefine federal law.

Citing Title IX, the U.S. Department of Justice last month sued North Carolina over a law regulating access to public facilities on the basis of biological sex. North Carolina has also sued the Justice Department.

The 4th Circuit is the highest court to weigh in on the meaning of Title IX. The Obama administration filed a brief in support of the transgender student in that case.

After Gavin’s high school said students cannot use the facilities of the opposite sex, the student appealed to the school board to intervene.

The board voted 6-1 denying the request, and the school sought to accommodate students who do not identify as their biological sex by building several unisex, private stalls.

The ACLU, which represents Gavin, said students have a right to use accommodations consistent with their gender identity.

Gavin praised the 4th Circuit’s ruling as a step toward transgender equality.

“Today’s decision gives me hope that my fight will help other kids avoid discriminatory treatment at school,” Gavin said in a statement after the ruling.



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