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The Supreme Court said Friday that it will decide whether the Obama administration may require public school systems to let transgender students use bathrooms that align with their gender identity, putting the court once again at the center of a divisive social issue.
School districts across the country are split on how to accommodate transgender students amid conflicting guidance from courts, the federal government and, in some cases, state legislatures that have passed laws requiring people to use public restrooms that match the sex on their birth certificates.
The justices accepted a petition from the School Board of Gloucester County, Va., seeking to overturn a lower court’s order that 17-year-old Gavin Grimm, who was born female but identifies as male, be allowed to use the boys’ restroom during his senior year of high school.
In August, the Supreme Court voted 5 to 3 to temporarily stay that lower court’s ruling while it remained on appeal. In that order granting the stay, Justice Stephen G. Breyer said he was joining the conservative justices as a “courtesy” that would preserve the status quo while the court considered whether to accept the case.