5 Things You Need to Know About SCOTUS Decision to Vacate and Remand Gavin Grimm's Case

by HRC Staff

HRC held a Facebook Live chat today with HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow to answer some pressing questions.

Post submitted by Brian McBride, former HRC Digital Strategist 

Earlier this morning, the Supreme Court sent the historic case G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board back to the Fourth Circuit. The decision, which was a direct result of the Trump Administration rescinding school guidance protecting transgender students, leaves thousands of trans students waiting even longer for their basic rights to be affirmed by our nation’s highest court. Many are now wondering what happens next and what does this mean for Gavin Grimm and transgender students nationwide.

Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy, sued his school board alleging they violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 by denying him use of the boy’s restroom. The Fourth Circuit ruled in Grimm’s favor, but because the original ruling was heavily based on the Obama Administration's guidance, which allowed each student to use the bathroom that matched their gender identity, the Supreme Court asked the lower court to revisit the case and rule on the underlying statutory question regarding the scope of Title IX.

HRC held a Facebook Live chat today with our Legal Director Sarah Warbelow to answer some pressing questions. Here are some of the highlights from our conversation.

1. What does this mean for Grimm’s case going forward?

Until the Supreme Court makes a final decision on Grimm’s case, it is likely that his school district will continue to discriminate against him in denying him access restrooms consistent with his gender identity. Grimm is currently a senior and will graduate from high school at the end of the school year, likely before a ruling is made. Despite this setback, it clear that Grimm, along with his lawyers at the ACLU, will continue to fight this case. He is making sure through telling his story and bringing his case that there is a potential for transgender students nationwide to receive the full protections of Title IX.

2. How does the Fourth Circuit proceed in light of the Supreme Court’s decision?

The Court will set a briefing schedule that will allow Grimm’s attorneys and attorney’s for the school district to put together their arguments about what Title IX means and how it does or does not protect transgender students.

3. Can Grimm’s case return to the Supreme Court in the future?

Yes. The Supreme Court’s decision to send Grimm’s case back to the lower court by no means suggested his case wasn’t valid, but that the justices simply wanted to hear more from the Fourth Circuit about Title IX before they made their own decision.

4. What does this decision mean for transgender students nationwide?

Transgender students are covered by federal law and are entitled to the same rights and protections as every other student. HRC encourages students, parents, school administrators to ensure that transgender students are treated fairly and respectfully. Despite this decision by SCOTUS, transgender students facing discrimination can still file suit under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

5. What can parents of transgender students do to combat against their child being discriminated against?

Parents have the right to demand their transgender child be treated with dignity, respect and full protection of the law. Parents should feel empowered to advocate on behalf of their students. If your child is experiencing discrimination, you have the right to demand a meeting with the principal and other school officials to ensure your child is being treated in accordance to their gender identity. If that fails, HRC encourages you to reach out to us or your local organizations who can assist you with litigation and other services. To learn more about how you can support transgender and gender-expansive youth visit our trans youth page here.

We know this is a challenging time for the LGBTQ community. While this plays out in our courts, now more than ever we believe it is crucial for us to affirm to transgender students that they are equal, they are valued, and there are millions of people across our country who will have their backs, no matter what.