15-year-old girl sues to force Virginia school district to let her use boys’ bathroom
GLOUCESTER, VA, June 12, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Gavin Grimm, a 15-year-old girl who now identifies as male, has filed a lawsuit to force her school district to let her use male restrooms.
However, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom told LifeSiteNews that the Gloucester, Virginia school district is under no legal obligation to provide her such accommodations.
According to the official complaint, Grimm -- who waived the right to redact her name from the documents -- legally changed her name to Gavin in July 2014, shortly after telling her parents of her gender dysphoria.
After discussing the disorder with school officials, Grimm was allowed to use the restroom of her choice. But a 6-1 school board decision in December changed that, alleges Grimm's complaint, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
After a public hearing, where most people opposed letting females use male restrooms, the board voted to state: "It shall be the practice of the GCPS to provide male and female restroom and locker room facilities in its schools, and the use of said facilities shall be limited to the corresponding biological genders and students with gender identity issues shall be provided an alternative appropriate private facility."
Three unisex bathrooms were subsequently installed, but the ACLU and Grimm said this wasn't good enough because denying use of the boys' restrooms "subject[ed] him to discrimination," according to the complaint.
The ACLU says the school violated Title IX, a 1972 law that bars sexual discrimination. In April 2014, the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights changed how it interpreted gender identity, making it a protected class under federal law.
The ACLU also says Grimm's 14th Amendment rights were violated.
However, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorney Jeremy Tedesco told LifeSiteNews, "We do not believe either claim will be successful."
"A federal court in Pennsylvania recently rejected a similar lawsuit filed by a transgender student seeking access to restrooms at a college," said Tedesco, "ruling that 'separating students by sex based on biological considerations … for restroom and locker room use simply does not violate the Equal Protection Clause.'"
"The court rejected the Title IX claim for the same reason. It also highlighted that Title IX’s implementing regulations state that schools do not violate Title IX when they 'provide separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.'"
"Every court to consider this issue has held that single-sex restrooms and locker room facilities are permitted under Title IX," said Tedesco, who said that "Gloucester has not violated the law."
The ADF attorney also said that the change to Title IX "is not legally binding" and was "politically motivated."
"In fact, federal regulations expressly state that 'significant guidance documents' have no binding legal authority," he explained. "Further, the document does not mention access to restrooms and it does not change binding Title IX regulations authorizing schools to create 'separate toilet, locker room, and shower facilities on the basis of sex.'"
"It would take an act of Congress to include 'gender identity' as a protected status under Title IX. The school can defend itself against this lawsuit without losing its federal funding. And it should. Allowing students access to the opposite sex’s restrooms would violate the privacy rights of the vast majority of students and trample the rights of parents as well.”
"The bottom line is that schools have broad discretion to handle these delicate matters in ways that balance the interests of all students involved. They can craft policies that are both respectful of the privacy concerns of all children and sensitive to the diverse needs of individual children, and that is exactly what Gloucester did."
Media reports show the board is going to consider the lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday, at its June 18 meeting. The lawsuit comes less than a month after the Fairfax County School Board ignored the concerns of hundreds of parents and gave gender identity protected class status as a result of a funding threat from the Obama administration.