The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education Thursday after a Virginia school district adopted a policy barring a transgender boy from using the men's bathroom.
Earlier in December, the Gloucester County School Board approved a motion stating that the district will "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 private facility." The board adopted the motion with a 6-to-1 vote, reported local outlet The Daily Press.
The motion was adopted in response to a request from a transgender male student to use the men's restroom. In a press release, the ACLU explained that Gavin Grim is a 10th-grader who was assigned female at birth but identifies as a male. While Grimm initially used a unisex bathroom after coming out as transgender over the summer, he began using the boys' bathroom in October.
The district's new motion prevents Grimm from continuing this practice. The ACLU has argued that this violates federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.
"Now that the board has passed this policy, school no longer feels as safe and welcoming as it did before," said Grimm in the ACLU press release. "Being singled out is a glaring reminder of my differences and causes me significant discomfort every time I have to use the restroom."
The ACLU previously warned the school board that it would take action if board members voted to prevent Grimm from using the restroom that corresponds with his gender identity. In a letter sent to the school board in early December, the ACLU's attorneys wrote that "generalized and speculative concerns about privacy cannot justify a blank policy preventing a transgender boy from using the same restrooms as other boys."
Members of the county school board did not respond to The Huffington Post's request for comment.
In its complaint, the ACLU notes that the Department of Education has previously made it clear that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects against discrimination against transgender students. A guidance document released by the department in August says that, "Title IX's sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity."
During the school board meeting at which members voted on the policy, the Daily Press reports that many community members supported the idea of restricting transgender students' use of bathrooms.
"Where does it end?" parent Ralph Vanness asked the board, according to the outlet. "I believe that as Americans we are endowed with rights, but I must also reiterate that there are rights of the other students and the other young men at Gloucester High School."