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School forced to fork over $1.3 million for not allowing a trans student to use the preferred bathroom

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for Out

A Virginia school board will pay more than $1.3 million to the American Civil Liberties Union after losing a court battle involving a transgender student who sued the school over its bathroom policy.

What are the details?

According to the Virginian-Pilot, the Gloucester County School Board on Thursday agreed to pay the ACLU the full amount of costs and fees associated with its representation of one of its former students, Gavin Grimm, marking the end of a lengthy six-year legal fight.

In 2015, Grimm — who was born a female — sued the board after Gloucester schools prohibited her from using the bathroom of her choice. The district had implemented a policy that required students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their biological sex rather than their gender identity.

In the lawsuit, the ACLU argued the school's policy left Grimm feeling "stigmatized and isolated" and violated her constitutional rights to equal protection under the law.

The legal fight dragged on for years before reaching its final stage in June, when the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. In its refusal, the top court let stand a lower court ruling that sided with Grimm and effectively handed LGBTQ advocates a victory.

What else?

Both the ACLU and Grimm, who is now 22, touted the payout as a victory for trans youth and a warning for schools that may be considering similar measures.

"We are glad that this long litigation is finally over and that Gavin has been fully vindicated by the courts, but it should not have taken over six years of expensive litigation to get to this point," said Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU, in a press release.

"After a year in which state legislatures have introduced an unprecedented number of bills targeting trans youth, we hope that the fee award will give other school boards and lawmakers pause before they use discrimination to score political points," he added.

Grimm celebrated the outcome, saying, "I hope that this outcome sends a strong message to other school systems, that discrimination is an expensive losing battle."

Anything else?

The school board addressed the outcome in a press release, stating, "The insurance provider for the Gloucester County School Board has addressed the Plaintiff's request for attorney fees and costs resulting from the Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board litigation. The School Board has no further comment on this matter."

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