‘Incredible Victory’ for Trans Rights: Supreme Court Rejects School Bathroom Case

In what civil rights advocates hailed as “an incredible victory,” the United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case of Gavin Grimm, a former Virginia high school student who in 2015 sued his county board of education over its policy of denying transgender pupils use of restrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

“Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials.”
—Gavin Grimm, plaintiff

The high court’s move lets stand G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board, a 2020 ruling in which the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found that policies segregating transgender students from their peers are unconstitutional.

Specifically, Grimm—who was represented by the ACLU and ACLU of Virginia—successfully argued that the school board’s discriminatory policy violated Title IX, the federal law barring discrimination on the basis of sex in education.

Grimm’s legal battle began when, as a 15-year-old Gloucester High School sophomore in 2015, he sued the county school board. Earlier that year, the Obama administration’s Department of Education issued guidance stating that “a school generally must treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity.”

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia dismissed Grimm’s case. He appealed, and in April 2016 the Fourth Circuit ruled in his favor.

However, the Supreme Court subsequently blocked an order allowing Grimm to use restrooms matching his gender identity, with the justices announcing in October 2016 that they would review the Fourth Circuit ruling.

Following the election of former President Donald Trump—whose Education Department reversed the Obama-era guidance—the Supreme Court vacated and remanded the case to the Fourth Circuit, which, after last year’s landmark Bostock v. Clayton County SCOTUS decision, ruled in favor of Grimm.

Grimm welcomed the Supreme Court’s move on Monday.

“I am glad that my yearslong fight to have my school see me for who I am is over,” he said in a statement. “Being forced to use the nurse’s room, a private bathroom, and the girl’s room was humiliating for me, and having to go to out-of-the-way bathrooms severely interfered with my education.”

“Trans youth deserve to use the bathroom in peace without being humiliated and stigmatized by their own school boards and elected officials,” Grimm asserted.

Josh Block, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, said in a statement that “this is the third time in recent years that the Supreme Court has allowed appeals court decisions in support of transgender students to stand.”

“This is an incredible victory for Gavin and for transgender students around the country,” Block added. “Our work is not yet done, and the ACLU is continuing to fight against anti-trans laws targeting trans youth in states around the country.”

According to the LGBTQ+ advocacy group GLAAD, there are scores of Republican-sponsored bills under consideration in a majority of U.S. states targeting the rights of transgender students. Numerous states have already passed laws or implemented executive orders erasing or limiting

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Supreme Court refuses appeal for Virginia school board’s transgender bathroom ban

Members of the U.S. Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the court in Washington, D.C., on Friday. Seated, from left to right, are Associate Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Standing, from left to right, are Associate Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett. Pool Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI | License Photo

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Former Clarksville school nurse photographed over 40 girls in Northeast High School bathroom, charges say

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A former Clarksville school nurse is facing federal charges in a child pornography investigation.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office , Leon Hensley, 40, was arrested Thursday morning at his current home in Lake Wales, Florida. He is scheduled to appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Tampa later Thursday.

A criminal compliant alleges that from August 2017 through November 8, 2019, Hensley was employed as a nurse at North East High School (NEHS) in Clarksville. In November 2019, the Clarksville Police Department received information from the Tennessee Department of Children Services suggesting that Hensley texted a picture of a naked woman to a minor female in the Clarksville area.

Authorities say Hensley was communicating with the minor via text message and asked her to help him with a photo shoot by posing for photos.

Officers with the Clarksville Police Department searched Hensley’s phone and found several pictures showing sexual exploitation of children. When officers executed a search warrant for Hensley’s house, they seized numerous electronic devices, including a small covert video camera.

The initial search of Hensley’s phone lead officers to discover naked pictures which were identified as female students at NEHS. Due to the large amount of images on Hensley’s devices, the United States Secret Service joined the investigation and conducted a more thorough forensic search of Hensley’s electronic devices.

It was during this search where authorities found several files depicting what appeared to be unidentified girls, all minors, secretly photographed while using the restroom by a hidden camera.

Other photos showed more unidentified women, this time in hospital examination rooms, pre-operation or post operation rooms, and naked women in tanning beds, authorities say.

To date, over 700 pictures of minor females in a single restroom in various stages of undress and/or using bathroom facilities have been found on devices belonging to Hensley. The images appear to have been taken by a hidden or concealed camera.

Authorities say the camera was positioned in such a way to capture or try to capture the female genitalia and was positioned in the same location in all of the pictures – directly across and in front of the toilet seat at toilet seat level.

Further investigation revealed that the pictures were taken from inside the private student bathroom in the nurse’s station at NEHS. Other images were found to have been taken at Tennova Hospital in Clarksville, where Hensley was employed prior to his employment at NEHS, investigators say.

To date, over 40 victims are suspected to be students at NEHS and range from 12 to 17 years of age.

Hensley faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and up to life in prison if convicted.

Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Secret Service, FBI, Clarksville Police Department, Assistant U.S. Attorneys are all

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Georgia elementary school dedicates butterfly garden to educator killed in crash

The chase began when Georgia State Patrol troopers tried to stop a Mini Cooper, which they clocked going 95 mph on I-75 in Gordon County, the state agency said in a statement. The driver, identified as 20-year-old Christopher Tyler Parker, allegedly refused to stop and continued south. He exited the interstate at Union Grove Road before continuing south on U.S. 41, the GSP said.

ExploreBartow County educator killed during police chase known to students as ‘mom’

Investigators said Parker ran a red light at the intersection of Ga. 140 and smashed into the side of Townsend’s Buick. After the collision, Townsend’s car was sent into the back of a Dodge pickup truck, causing minor injuries to the truck’s driver.

The GSP determined the Mini Cooper had been stolen from Parker’s grandmother. Parker was arrested at the scene and faces charges of vehicular homicide, fleeing and attempting to elude, receiving stolen property and bringing stolen property across state lines.

“Mrs. Townsend was such an amazing part of the White Elementary family,” Heater said in the days following the paraprofessional’s death. “She was truly a devoted staff member who put the needs of our children before her very own. She always had an amazing smile, sense of humor, and a determined, unbreakable spirit. She is going to be missed dearly.”

More than 15 community partners stepped in to provide planters, mulch and soil, Heater said. Townsend’s parents, Jim and Sandra Walker, said the act left them “speechless.”

“This was an overwhelming feeling for us,” they said, “and we felt that was the sweetest way to honor her. She loved White Elementary and her students.”

The community placed two rose bushes in the garden, Heater said, adding that they were Townsend’s “favorite pollinating plants.” It also contains gardenia bushes, a walking trail and a seating area for White Elementary classes to take part in outdoor learning.

The elementary school’s garden club will maintain it, she added.

“Angie would be overjoyed and say, ‘Y’all didn’t have to do all of this,’ and would just sit down and cry,” the Walkers said. “I don’t think she would imagine that she meant so much to so many people.”

REMEMBERING ANGIE TOWNSEND: White Elementary School Art Teacher Bridgette Ballard felt led to paint this picture of our beloved Angie. It captures Angie’s love of children perfectly.

Posted by Bartow County Schools on Thursday, October 8, 2020

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Kitchen staff member tests positive for coronavirus at St George’s Primary School on Sheppey

A primary school’s kitchen has had to shut after a member of staff tested positive for coronavirus.

The head teacher of St George’s Primary School in Minster, Sheppey , has sent a letter to parents and carers informing them of the diagnosis and asking them to provide their children with packed lunches from today.

St George's Primary School in Minster, Sheppey
St George’s Primary School in Minster, Sheppey

Howard Fisher wrote: “Due to a positive diagnosis for Covid with one of our kitchen staff we have followed advice from the DFE and will be closing our kitchen and sending the staff home for the isolation period.



“This means that from October 5 you will need to provide a packed lunch for your child.

“If your child is in receipt of free school meals, as from tomorrow we will provide a standard lunch which may be hot or cold.

“We will have one stand in member of staff capable of catering who can manage this.

“If you could provide a lunch yourself this would help with the overall challenge.”

Head teacher Howard Fisher outside St George's Primary School in Minster, Sheppey
Head teacher Howard Fisher outside St George’s Primary School in Minster, Sheppey

On Friday, pupils at the Island’s Oasis Academy were told to isolate after a confirmed case of coronavirus .

The day before, 133 pupils and eight members of staff from Rose Street Primary School in Sheerness were made to self isolate after two members of staff also tested positive for the virus.

Meanwhile, an entire bus-load of pupils who travelled to The Sittingbourne School from Sheppey have been told to self isolate after a pupil tested positive for Covid-19.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

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White House reportedly pushed CDC hard to fall in line on sending kids to school, sought alternate safety data

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began working in early summer on guidance for sending children back to school, and the White House then “spent weeks trying to press public health professionals to fall in line with President Trump’s election-year agenda of pushing to reopen schools and the economy as quickly as possible,” The New York Times reported Monday night, citing documents and interviews with current and former government officials.

This “strikingly political intervention in one of the most sensitive public health debates of the pandemic” included searching for “alternate data” that suggested children were at little or no risk from the coronavirus, the Times reports, and trying to swap in guidance from a little-known Health and Human Services Department agency, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

SAMHSA was focused on the emotional and mental health toll remote school could have on children, but CDC scientists found multiple problems with the agency’s assertion that COVID-19 posed a low health and transmission risk for children. That’s the language the White House was most interested in, though, and throughout the summer the CDC won some battles and lost others trying to keep it out of public guidance, the Times documents.

Olivia Troye, one of Vice President Mike Pence’s envoys on the White House coronavirus task force until leaving the administration in July, told the Times she regrets being “complicit” in the effort to pressure the CDC to make children look safer than the data supported. She said when she tried to shield the CDC, Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, charged “more junior staff” to “develop charts” for White House briefings.

In early July, several prominent medical groups, including the American Association of Pediatrics, advised sending kids back to school with stringent safety measures, in part because the data at the time suggested lower risk for kids. “More recently, data compiled by the academy from recent months shows that hospitalizations and deaths from the coronavirus have increased at a faster rate in children and teenagers than among the general public,” the Times reports. Read more at The New York Times.

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Behind the White House Effort to Pressure the C.D.C. on School Openings

WASHINGTON — Top White House officials pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this summer to downplay the risk of sending children back to school, a strikingly political intervention in one of the most sensitive public health debates of the pandemic, according to documents and interviews with current and former government officials.

As part of their behind-the-scenes effort, White House officials also tried to circumvent the C.D.C. in a search for alternate data showing that the pandemic was weakening and posed little danger to children.

The documents and interviews show how the White House spent weeks trying to press public health professionals to fall in line with President Trump’s election-year agenda of pushing to reopen schools and the economy as quickly as possible. The president and his team have remained defiant in their demand for schools to get back to normal, even as coronavirus cases have once again ticked up, in some cases linked to school and college reopenings.

The effort included Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, and officials working for Vice President Mike Pence, who led the task force. It left officials at the C.D.C., long considered the world’s premier public health agency, alarmed at the degree of pressure from the White House.

One member of Mr. Pence’s staff said she was repeatedly asked by Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, to get the C.D.C. to produce more reports and charts showing a decline in coronavirus cases among young people.

The staff member, Olivia Troye, one of Mr. Pence’s top aides on the task force, said she regretted being “complicit” in the effort. But she said she tried as much as possible to shield the C.D.C. from the White House pressure, which she saw as driven by the president’s determination to have schools open by the time voters cast ballots.

“You’re impacting people’s lives for whatever political agenda. You’re exchanging votes for lives, and I have a serious problem with that,” said Ms. Troye, who left the White House in August and has begun speaking out publicly against Mr. Trump.

According to Ms. Troye, Mr. Short dispatched junior members of the vice president’s staff to circumvent the C.D.C. in search of data he thought might better support the White House’s position.

“I was appalled when I found out that Marc Short was tasking more junior staff in the office of the vice president to develop charts” for White House briefings, she said.

The White House did not publicly respond to the accusations. After Ms. Troye went public this month, Mr. Short told MSNBC that she had a vendetta against the president and that she left the White House because “the strain was too much for her to do the job.”

Several former officials said that before one task force briefing in late June, White House officials, including Ms. Troye, spoke to top C.D.C. officers asking for data that could show the low risk of infection and death for school-age children —

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The Taste with Vir: Elizabeth Kerkar’s contributions to Taj Hotels created new school of Indian interior design – opinion

In the 1950S and the 1960s, the big American hotel companies looked as though they would take over the world. Such chains as Hilton (owned by the eponymous family and then by TWA), Intercontinental (owned by Pan Am) and a little later, Sheraton (owned by the multinational conglomerate ITT), opened in many of the world’s capitals.

Some of these hotels were not bad looking structures (though it later became fashionable to dismiss them as ugly skyscrapers) but it is fair to say that they had no sense of place about them. There may have been a few token nods to the city they were located in, but most days, if you suddenly woke up in a Hilton or an Intercontinental, it was hard to tell which city you were in.

That began to change a little from the 1970s onwards but it continues to be a problem for many global chains even today. They use the same service model, the same systems and often, the same architects and designers no matter where they build their hotels. So there is very little to distinguish one property from another. Nor is there much sense of art or aesthetics.

Indian hotels have always been different much to the bemusement of foreign chains. I have heard it said that when the Tatas did not know what to do with the Taj Mahal Hotel in the 1950s, they asked Hilton if the chain would run it. Hilton said it would. But the existing building was too awkward and had to be pulled down. A huge new skyscraper would be constructed in its place.

The Tatas said goodbye to Hilton and decided to run the Taj themselves. They were up against the Oberois, India’s leading hotel chain who had collaborated with Intercontinental in Delhi and were about to collaborate with Sheraton at a brand new hotel in Mumbai. It should have been a no-contest. But against the odds, largely thanks to the genius of JRD Tata and the team he entrusted the Indian Hotels company (which owned the Taj) to, the Taj brand grew from one Mumbai hotel to rival the Oberois as a national chain.

Though the Oberois worked with the great American chains, they retained an Indian sensibility. Such great Indian artists as Krishan Khanna and Satish Gujral created works of art specially for Oberoi hotels and Rai Bahadur MS Oberoi, who built the chain, was keen to imbue it with an air of Indian-ness.

At the Taj, JRD Tata and Ajit Kerkar, the man who turned the Taj into an all-India chain, worked to a similar brief. Their combined efforts helped create the Indian hotel industry: one reason why India is probably the only non-Western country where the top hotels in each city are still run by Indian companies and not by foreign chains.

At the Taj, at least, a key element of the planning of each hotel was the design. Kerkar had worked in London before he was headhunted by the Tatas

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Sir, can I go and play in the mud kitchen? The fun-filled school with luxury flats attached

With luxurious modern bathrooms, spacious open-plan living rooms and panoramic views across the city, 333 Kingsland Road sounds like any other pricey block of high-end flats. Except that, where you might normally find sunloungers on a neatly landscaped terrace, this one has a “mud kitchen”. That’s because, rather than a private gym, cinema or other aspirational concept of the kind used to sell such developments, this London high-rise comes with the joyful chaos of a primary school attached to its base.

After five long months of no school, it is a nice surprise to hear the sound of (safely bubbled) playground games in full swing, and glimpse kids fooling around on the deck that hovers above the street. You might expect such a tower to have a swanky concierge at its base, but there instead you’ll find the school reception. Meanwhile, the roof of Hackney New Primary School is given over to planters for each class to grow their own food and get mucky with mud. It is a welcome reminder, in a world increasingly devoted to overpriced apartments for young professionals and foreign investors, that cities are for children, too.

The unlikely pairing was one of necessity. It would be nice to think that a primary school could just be built on such a site, across the road from its sister secondary school, no questions asked. But such is the capital’s superheated property market that the Education Funding Agency was forced to cough up £16m to acquire the site, meaning that a tower of 68 luxury flats had to be built to pay for the £23.5m school, delivered as a joint venture with the Benyon Estate and developer Thornsett.

To make matters more perverse, the site had long been home to a fire station, so the money was simply paid from one public body to another. And, because of the vastly inflated land value, the possibility for any “affordable” flats was ruled out by the viability assessment in the process. In the eyes of the planners, the presence of the school was deemed sufficient to tick the community benefit box (along with a £1.5m contribution to affordable housing off site).

At the time, Labour councillor James Peters wrote to Labour-controlled Hackney council warning that the plans were “a travesty, a mockery of the council’s policies and an insult to people throughout the borough”. Local MP Meg Hillier also wrote to then education secretary Justine Greening, urging her that this was “a golden opportunity to deliver both a school and homes for teachers”. But the viability assessment said no.

Against this compromised backdrop, the architects, Henley Halebrown, have done an admirable job of making the forced marriage seem like a natural pairing, as if a primary school at the base of a tower block was as normal as a Tesco or a Costa. Not only that, they have designed the tower in such a way that it feels less like a cruel imposition to be grudgingly tolerated because it makes

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Court denies Gloucester School Board’s effort to appeal ruling declaring bathroom ban unconsitutional in Grimm case

GLOUCESTER, Va. (WAVY) — An effort by the Gloucester County School Board to appeal a ruling declaring its bathroom policy for transgender students unconstitutional has been denied.

Earlier this month, the school board filed a petition asking the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear its case against former student Gavin Grimm.

That request was denied, according to a tweet from the ACLU of Virginia.

“Discrimination against trans students is discrimination on the basis of sex and it’s illegal. Full stop,” the ACLU tweeted.

The school board announced Sept. 9 it had requested an en banc review in the Richmond-based United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The request would have meant the full circuit court of appeals — all the judges — would have heard the case and could potentially overturned the previous ruling by a three-judge panel.

The three-judge panel had ruled that the school division’s requirements that Grimm use restrooms for his biological sex, female, or private bathrooms violated his rights. Grimm began transitioning from female to male while at Gloucester High School. In 2016, as a senior in high school, he legally changed his sex to male via state court order and on his birth certificate.

The panel’s decision upheld a previous one from a federal judge in Norfolk. That judge ruled in 2019 that Grimm’s rights were violated under the Constitution’s equal protection clause as well as under Title IX, a federal civil rights law that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.


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