Metro Weekly

Gloucester County School Board asking court to dismiss Gavin Grimm’s lawsuit

School board says lawsuit no longer relevant due to Grimm's graduation from high school

Gavin Grimm - Photo: Todd Franson

Gavin Grimm – Photo: Todd Franson

The Gloucester County School Board has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by transgender teenager Gavin Grimm.

Grimm is challenging the district’s restrictive transgender restroom policy, which barred him from the boys’ restroom and required him to use single-stall facilities.

His lawyers maintain that the policy is unconstitutional and violates Grimm’s rights under both the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972.

The school board argues, in a motion filed last week, that Grimm’s lawsuit is no longer relevant because the policy no longer affects Grimm as an alumnus. As such, they believe the lawsuit is moot.

Due to the cumbersome process of getting a court date, Grimm has since graduated from high school, eliminating the need for a temporary injunction. Instead, he and his lawyers have asked the district court to issue a permanent injunction to prevent the school board from implementing the restroom policy or barring future transgender students at Gloucester High School from restrooms matching their gender identity.

Grimm’s lawyers say that he is entitled to use the boys’ restroom when he attends school or community events that might be held at Gloucester High School.

Grimm’s case had initially been headed for the Supreme Court to determine whether or not he would have to drop part of the lawsuit alleging that his rights under Title IX were violated.

However, the Trump administration’s decision to rescind Obama-era guidance treating transgender students according to their gender identity eliminated the narrow rationale that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had used to justify the lawsuit.

The case was then sent back to the 4th Circuit, which subsequently remanded the case back to the district court level so that U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar could rule whether Grimm’s lawsuit was still relevant.

Doumar never ruled on whether Gloucester County’s policy violated Grimm’s rights under the Equal Protection Clause, which may help keep the case alive, even if Doumar says (as in a previous ruling) that Grimm can’t sue for violations of Title IX rights.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com