After Five-Year Battle, School Board Ordered to Pay $1.3 Million in Transgender Bathroom Suit

A school board in Virginia has been ordered to pay the legal fees, totaling more than a million dollars, to a transgender former student after a years-long battle.

The Gloucester County School Board has agreed to pay the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which defended Gavin Grimm beginning in 2015, $1.3 million.

“We are glad that this long litigation is finally over and that Gavin has been fully vindicated by the courts, but it should not have taken over six years of expensive litigation to get to this point,” Josh Block, an attorney for the ACLU said.

Grimm, who transitioned from a female to a male when he was a teenager, was denied usage of the boys’ bathroom after parents and other students complained. Grimm’s case prompted the school to change its restroom policy, saying that bathrooms and locker rooms “shall be limited to the corresponding biological genders.”

Grimm reportedly suffered severe emotional distress due to that decision, according to reports.

The ACLU printed a statement from Grimm in its announcement of the settlement.

“Rather than allow a child equal access to a safe school environment, the Gloucester School Board decided to fight this child for five years in a costly legal battle that they lost,” he said. “I hope that this outcome sends a strong message to other school systems, that discrimination is an expensive losing battle.”

The school board released a short statement in response to the ruling.

“The insurance provider for the Gloucester County School Board has addressed the Plaintiff’s request for attorney fees and costs resulting from the Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board litigation,” it said. “The School Board has no further comment on this matter.”

The issue of whether students should use bathrooms that correspond to their biological sexes has been a major nationwide debate for the past several years. Recently, the Supreme Court declined to hear a case about the topic.

Meanwhile, access to high school and college athletics among transgender students has also become a focal point for the LGBT community. At least eight states have mandated that student-athletes participate in sports that correspond to their biological sex, which critics have described as “discriminatory.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].

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