80 School Administrators and School Districts File Brief Supporting Gavin Grimm in Transgender Rights Case before the U.S. Supreme Court

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Filed by Lambda Legal and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, the brief shows transgender-inclusive policies already in place across the country benefit all students.
March 2, 2017

(Washington, DC, March 2, 2017) — Today, Lambda Legal and the law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., the appeal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruling that Gloucester County School Board’s discriminatory restroom policy segregating transgender students from their peers is unlawful. The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Gavin Grimm, a transgender student barred from using the men’s bathroom in Gloucester County public schools. Lambda Legal’s brief was filed on behalf of school administrators and school districts who have adopted or are in the process of adopting inclusive policies for their transgender students.

"The real world examples included in our brief demonstrate one simple truth: inclusive policies work. Schools that allow transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity consistently report that all students—not just transgender students—benefit from policies that respect gender identity and encourage inclusivity,” said Lambda Legal Counsel Tara Borelli. "Across the country, forward-thinking schools and school districts are proving the fear-mongers wrong. Their experiences show that respectful and inclusive policies create active and engaged student bodies."

The brief includes superintendents, principals, and other school officials from 31 states and the District of Columbia – from Wisconsin to Kentucky and California to Florida – whose districts are collectively responsible for 2.1 million students. The brief gives a voice to school administrators who have years of experience with inclusive policies and have seen firsthand the positive impact of these policies on their students and schools. Their experiences show clearly that the hypothetical fears raised by the Gloucester School Board in this case are not grounded in reality. 

“If [transgender kids are] worrying about the restroom, they’re not fully there to learn, but instead just trying to navigate their day,” said David Vannasdall, Superintendent for Arcadia Unified School District in California, in the brief. “Give students the opportunity to just be a kid, to use the bathroom, and know that it’s not a disruption, it just makes sense.”

In Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., the ACLU argues the restroom policy, which expels transgender students from communal restrooms and requires them to use “alternative” restroom facilities, violates Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination by schools.

The school administrators’ brief is available here:

To Know Your Rights about Bathrooms and Locker Rooms:

Tara Borelli and Kyle Palazzolo are handling the matter for Lambda Legal, joined by pro-bono co-counsel Richard M. Segal, Cynthia Cook Robertson, Nathaniel R. Smith, Kathryn A. Nyce, Robert C.K. Boyd, and William C. Miller of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.


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