A school board in Virginia has agreed to pay $1.3 million in legal costs to the American Civil Liberties Union after the nonprofit spent six years representing a student who sued over the board’s transgender bathroom ban.
Gavin Grimm’s lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board ended in June after the US Supreme Court rejected the board’s appeal to reinstate its bathroom policy.
Lower courts ruled that the board’s policy was unconstitutional and discriminated against Grimm because he was required to use restrooms that corresponded with his biological sex – female – or private bathrooms. He was barred from the boy’s facilities in high school.
The board agreed to the pay the ACLU’s legal costs in a filing made in a US District Court in Norfolk on Thursday.
Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU LGBTQ & HIV Project, said in a statement that ‘it should not have taken over six years of expensive litigation to get to this point.’
Grimm, who is now 22, said in a statement that he hopes ‘this outcome sends a strong message to other school systems that discrimination is an expensive, losing battle.’
‘I was bared from the bathroom at my high school seven years ago, when I was 15. Six years ago, at 16, myself and the ACLU/ACLUVA filed suit in response to that discrimination,’ Grimm wrote in a tweet shortly after the court made the decision in his favor.
‘Twice since I have enjoyed victories in court, and now it’s over. We won.’
David Corrigan, an attorney for the Gloucester County school board, released a board statement that said its insurance provider ‘has addressed’ the ACLU’s request to cover legal costs. The board declined to comment further.
It’s unclear what the board’s own legal costs have been over the years.
The Associated Press filed a request in 2018 with the school board’s insurance carrier under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act seeking that information.
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SOURCE: Associated Press / Daily Mail