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Supreme Court rules transgender Gloucester student can’t use boy’s restroom, for now

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Gavin Grimm

RICHMOND, Va. — The United States Supreme Court has stayed an emergency order from the Gloucester County school board to prevent a transgender student from using the boys’ restroom while his case is being decided.

This means Gavin Grimm, a Gloucester County transgender student, cannot use the restroom consistent with his gender identity while the Supreme Court decides if they will pick up the case.

Grimm, 17, was born a female, but has the gender identity of a male. He is currently allowed to use a private bathroom at the school.

The stay was previously denied by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond.

In a 4-3 vote, the judges stayed the order, pending the timely filing and disposition of a petition for a Writ of Certiorari. The Supreme Court will decide to hear a case based on at least four of the eight Justices agreeing to grant the Petition for Certiorari.

“In the event the petition for a Writ of Certiorari is granted, the stay shall terminate upon the issuance of the judgment of this Court,” the court wrote in their decision.

The three female judges on the court, Justice Ginsburg, Justice Sotomayor and Justice Kagan denied the stay from the court.

The Supreme Court reconvenes in October.

The American Civil Liberties Union released a statement about Wednesday’s decision:

“We are disappointed that the Court has issued a stay and that Gavin will have to begin another school year isolated from his peers and stigmatized by the Gloucester County school board just because he’s a boy who is transgender. We remain hopeful that Gavin will ultimately prevail.”

This comes after the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of the Gloucester County student who challenged to the school system after he was denied access to the boys’ bathroom.

The ACLU and the ACLU of Virginia brought the lawsuit on behalf of Grimm, arguing that the school board’s policy, which segregates transgender students from their peers by requiring them to use “alternative, private” restroom facilities, violates the U.S. Constitution and Title IX, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools.

The US. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia had initially denied Gavin’s request for a preliminary injunction and dismissed his Title IX claim.

But on April 19, the U.S. Court Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reinstated Grimm’s Title IX claim, holding that Title IX protects the rights of transgender students to use sex segregated facilities that are consistent with their gender identity.