A school board in Virginia has agreed to pay $1.3 million in legal costs to the American Civil Liberties Union after the nonprofit spent six years representing a student who sued over the board’s transgender bathroom ban.
Gavin Grimm’s suit against the Gloucester County School Board ended in June after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the board’s appeal to reinstate its bathroom policy. Lower courts ruled that the board’s policy was unconstitutional and discriminated against Grimm because he was required to use restrooms that corresponded with his biological sex — female — or private bathrooms. He was barred from the boy’s facilities in high school.
The board agreed to the pay the ACLU’s legal costs in a filing made in a U.S. District Court in Norfolk on Thursday. Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, said in a statement that “it should not have taken over six years of expensive litigation to get to this point.”
Grimm, who is now 22, said in a statement that he hopes “this outcome sends a strong message to other school systems that discrimination is an expensive, losing battle.” School systems that are insured are unlikely to suffer any long-standing financial repercussions from one lawsuit, said Francisco M. Negrón, Jr., chief legal officer for the National School Board Association.
“They may see a rise in premiums just like any other insured would experience,” he said, speaking generally and not about Gloucester. Grimm began transitioning from female to male while he was a student at his high school, located in a mostly rural area about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Richmond. He had chest reconstruction surgery and hormone therapy.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES
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