The Loudon County, Virginia school board approved a controversial new policy on Wednesday that expands the rights of transgender students following weeks of heated debate over the measure.
Policy 8040 was ratified by the school board after a few amendments were made on Wednesday in a 7-2 vote, a major win for LGBTQ advocates.
The policy will allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, to participate in sports and other activities “in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity,” and to be addressed by their names and pronouns of choice.
“LCPS’ number one priority is to foster the success of all students and ensure they feel safe, secure, accepted, and ready to learn at school. The school division will continue to do its due diligence in creating that environment and remaining open and transparent with all LCPS partners, community members, and stakeholders,” Loudoun County Public Schools said in a statement.
(Video: Fox 5)
Not everyone agrees with what is being dubbed a revision to the school’s anti-harassment guidelines.
“The policy is not needed. The policy does not solve the issues that it’s purported to solve. The policy has forced our focus out of education and I will not support it,” school board member Jeff Morse told Fox 5 DC.
“From years past, compared to comparing that to today’s classroom and today’s workforce is like comparing technology of 1980 to today’s technology, our teachers, administrators, and counselors are well trained to identify issues and provide emotional support to students,” Morse continued, according to WDVM-TV.
Parents aren’t happy with the policy either.
“If passed, policy 8040 would allow boys and adult LCPS male staff members to walk around naked in the girl’s locker rooms; this is sick. If the thought of that makes you uncomfortable. It also makes my 12-year-old daughter uncomfortable,” Megan Jinkins, a Loudon County Public School mom expressed to WDVM-TV.
A concerned grandfather made a plea on behalf of science. “I have four grandsons in the county currently. You all normally like to talk about following the science so I thought I’d share a little biology with you today. There are two chromosomes, to determine a person’s sex and gender. They are the x and y chromosomes if you have two x’s, you are a female. If you have an x and a y, you are a man,” Gary Higgins said, according to WDVM.
Another board member, Ian Serotkin however, asked Morse to speak to “more of our gay and transgender students,” maintaining that if Morse spoke to more students, he would have a better understanding of the bullying that goes on in schools.
“I think that they have spent years fighting through these issues and fighting through the discrimination, the harassment, the bullying, and this is going to be an opportunity for them to rise up out of that and into a school year that is going to fully embrace them. It’s going to allow them to learn at their fullest potential,” Chris Candice Tuck, Equality Loudoun president told Fox News Online.
There was a low turnout for Wednesday’s vote, a stark contrast from Tuesday’s crowd of nearly 200 who participated in a public comment hearing that lasted over 4 hours.
One faculty member, Tanner Cross faced consequences earlier in the year for asserting that he would not “affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it’s against my religion. It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God.”
The debate over 8040 has gone on for weeks. In June, a school board meeting on the hot button issue, where 259 residents signed up to speak, ended in the arrest of two men. Reportedly just 51 of the 259 concerned attendees who signed up to speak at that meeting were heard.
Recent court cases have supported the expansion of transgender rights, however, the higher courts won’t take these issues up–yet. The Supreme Court chose not to hear an appeal to the case that sets precedent for this region.
One teacher, Laura Morris, quit in front of the school board in response to 8040’s approval.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 12, 2021
“School board, I quit. I quit your policies. I quit your trainings and I quit being a cog in a machine that tells me to push highly politicized agendas on our most vulnerable constituents — the children,” Morris stated in her emotional resignation.
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