The complaint the ACLU filed with the Educational Opportunities Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division states the policy the Gloucester County School Board approved by a 6-1 vote margin on Dec. 9 violates Title IX that prohibits schools that receive federal funds from discriminating on the basis of sex.
“The ‘biological gender’ policy at GCPS (Gloucester County Public Schools) singles out transgender students for disparate treatment based on their transgender status,” reads the complaint.
The school board approved the controversial policy after administrators at Gloucester County High School allowed Gavin Grimm, a trans boy, to use boys’ restrooms.
The ACLU in its complaint says Grimm had been able to use restrooms consistent with his gender identity and expression since late October with “no disruption of any kind at the school during the ensuring month.”
“To our knowledge, not a single student complained to school officials or expressed discomfort with Gavin using the boys’ restrooms on campus,” reads the complaint.
The complaint notes the school board approved its policy after it received complaints from parents.
“The ‘biological gender’ restroom and locker room policy, and the experience of having his use of the bathroom be the subject of public debate, has made school an unwelcoming place for Gavin,” it reads. “Beginning on December 10, 2014, school officials have prevented Gavin from using the boys’ restroom and required him to travel to a unisex restroom in the nurse’s office instead. As a result, Gavin is once again stigmatized and isolated from his peers whenever he has to use the restroom.”
Randy Burak, chair of the Gloucester County School Board, on Monday declined to comment on the complaint.
Kim Hensley is the only member of the board who voted against the policy.
She told the Washington Blade earlier this month it “violates the civil rights of transgender students by denying them equal access to school facilities.” Hensley added she feels the policy could potentially jeopardize the district’s federal funding.
“Gloucester County Public Schools can protect the privacy rights of all students and still comply with Title IX by retrofitting bathrooms to make sure that there are only stalls in the boys’ and girls’ bathrooms,” she told the Blade. “This would be a fast and cost effective way to address community concerns.”