Gavin Grimm, assigned female at birth but identifying as a man, was refused access to the boys' bathroom at his Virginia high school. Grimm sued, and now the Gloucester County School Board must pay $1.3m for breaking gender discrimination law after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear its appeal.
Grimm sued the district in 2015 in federal court, alleging that its policy of prohibiting him from using the boys' bathrooms violated a federal law, known as Title IX, that bans sex discrimination in school programs. Grimm was assigned female at birth but legally changed his name and began hormone therapy as a freshman in high school. His school principal allowed him to use the boys' bathrooms, but the board overruled the decision and prohibited it. Federal courts twice sided with Grimm, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case in June.
The school board apparently spent much more fighting the case, all paid for by the taxpayers in a country with a per-capita income, according to wikipedia, of less than $20,000 a year. It seems the school board has a reputation for financial improvidence and impropriety. A recent sales tax hike, sold to voters as necessary for school construction, was spent otherwise.
"It feels like what they're doing is extremely sneaky, and it's just very disappointing," Stone said.
School Board members aired several concerns at the joint meeting Tuesday. One was how little flexibility the budget allows — what if an HVAC system unexpectedly fails? Rice said voters will expect them to use the sales tax money, but there won't be any left.
"They will be screaming mismanagement of that sales tax revenue," Rice said. "And they will be screaming rightly so."
Several School Board members were worried about the legality of the move, given the narrow language of the law. During the joint meeting, the board voted 5-1 to seek a ruling from Attorney General Mark Herring on the matter.
Good luck tacking on another percent to meet your future insurance premiums, Gloucester County!