New Kent Co. schools considering transgender bathroom policy

NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — It’s an issue that found Gloucester High School student Gavin Grimm in a federal courtroom just a few months ago.

Grimm was born a female but identifies as a male. He was granted permission by the Gloucester County school board to use the boy’s bathroom, but that decision was later reversed, leading Grimm to a battle for use of the boys’ bathrooms.

“It increased the amount of anxiety I have going into school, it created a challenge that I never dreamed I would ever have and it was for me deeply stigmatizing and very upsetting,” said Grimm back in July outside of federal court.

Now for the first time neighboring New Kent County is considering implementing its own bathroom policy for transgender students.

“This is a new topic and we’re learning as we go,” said New Kent County School Board chair Sarah Barber.

Barber says they have unisex bathrooms in each of their schools and so far there haven’t been any issues, but the school system is considering making an official policy in order to avoid any confusion among parents and students.

“We wanted to be proactive and address potential concerns with the community,” said Barber.

Barber says this is the first semester they’ve had to deal with the issue.

“Our school division has 3,000 students, we have just a couple that have identified as transgender,” said Barber.

She says the school board will likely wait on a judgment in Grimm’s case before making a policy as New Kent County is in the same federal court district. Meanwhile Grimm is hoping to gain access to boy’s bathrooms, saying unisex bathrooms just won’t do.

“I’m a boy so it’s very uncomfortable for me to only have the option of the female restroom or any other unisex option because I’m a boy, I’m not a girl, and I’m not unisex,” said Grimm.

Parents can voice their opinions during a public comment period at the New Kent County school board meeting on Monday night.

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