School Policies That Protect Gender Diversity

Type: Article
Topics: Equity, School Administrator Magazine

October 01, 2022

Legal Brief

IN 2014, A SCHOOL DISTRICT allowed Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy, to use the boys’ restroom. However, after facing backlash from parents, the district adopted a policy requiring students to use bathrooms matching the sex on their birth certificate or single-stall bathrooms.

Grimm received a court order stating that he is male and amended his birth certificate to reflect that he is male. He presented these documents to the school district, but the district refused to amend his school records or budge on the bathroom issue.

The district’s inaction led to serious emotional distress and health issues for Grimm, who sued. In Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit analyzed the district’s bathroom policy under Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and ruled in the student’s favor. The U.S. Supreme Court denied to hear the case, and the school district settled with Grimm for $1.3 million.

With an increasing number of teens and tweens identifying as transgender and nonbinary, school districts are grappling with several issues similar to those in the Grimm case that may not have been on their radar a few years ago.

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Sarah Saint

Education Attorney

Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard (N.C.)