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Transgender Rights May Get Boost in FCPS Board Ruling

by Karen Goff — May 7, 2015 at 2:00 pm 18 Comments

Ryan McElveen/Credit: FCPSThe Fairfax County Public Schools Board will take action Thursday on protection for transgender students under its non-discrimination policy.

The motion, introduced by At-Large board member Ryan McElveen, states that “no student, employee, or applicant for employment in the Fairfax County Public Schools shall, on the basis of age, race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, marital status, or disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity, as required by law.”

In March, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring issued an opinion that grants local school boards the authority to include sexual orientation and gender identity in non-discrimination policies.

The FCPS board voted 11-1 last fall to include sexual orientation in its policy after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to allow gay marriages in Virginia and other states.

McElveen has said it is important for the largest school system in Virginia to make a statement “that we unequivocally protect, value and embrace all of our students and employees for who they are.”

National statistics show about half of transgender teens have attempted suicide once before they turn 20. McElveen said that number was crucial in his reasons for introducing the transgender protection.

McElveen has heard from parents who fear the protection could lead to coed bathrooms. Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition told the Washington Post that the policy would endanger children.

“So you are going to put people with serious mental-health issues that are at a risk for suicide in our classrooms?” Lafferty said. “What you’re going to have in class are she-males — people who are half-female and half-male. We ask that you protect our children. They deserve to be protected.”

McElveen’s proposal has been met with opposition from traditional values groups and from state delegates Robert G. Marshall (R) and David LaRock (R), who say the school board does not have the right to create protected classes.

Reston’s Del. Ken Plum (D), who has fought for LBGT rights in Richmond, says he is proud of the school board for taking on this issue.

“They could ignore it or put it off on the agenda,” he said. “I admire that they are not. There have been amazing advances on LBGT issues, and I think out schools ought to build on that and move forward.”

A Reston parent of a transgender teen who graduated last year said he is pleased with the potential policy change.

“I am certainly in favor or such a policy change,” said the parent, whose name is not being used for privacy reasons.

Photo: Ryan McElveen/Courtesy FCPS

  • WhoIsJohnGalt

    I sexually identify as Apache attack helicopter so I demand that the school not label me as a man or a woman. I will need my own garage for fuel and oil changes. I thank you for your tolerance and understanding.

  • ShakingMyHead

    J. F. C.

  • meh

    Good job helping the fringe of your political base, now maybe you will address the over crowding caused by the massive influx of ESL students.

    • Ming the Merciless

      Ordinary taxpayers don’t have rights. Their job is to shut up and pay.

  • Ming the Merciless

    Just wait until the horny teenage boys realize they can “identify as female” for the purpose of access to the girl’s locker room.

    • George Washington

      What a stupid thing to say

      • Ming the Merciless

        Oh yes it is a stupid concern… until your daughter has to deal with the presence of males in the bathroom or locker room.

  • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

    Is McElveen a she-male himself? Herself? So every school in the county is going to have to modify their plumbing at our expense because of a few transgenders/confused kids? I doubt that there are more than 3 or 4 of these kids county wide over a ten year period. All the while complaining that there isn’t enough money for the schools? How much will it cost to do all of this plumbing work at every school in the county? I hate these idiots.

    • WhoIsJohnGalt

      “May or may not”. So either you’re advocating having a transgender in a bathroom where ridicule will most likely happen or building new bathrooms to pander to a very minor % of the student base. Either way it’s an isuse.

    • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

      Have these kids been sexually “reassigned”? Surgically? 3 in one school in Reston at one time is way way out of the norm. Nontheless, what do they want? How are they treated unfairly?

    • Reston Watcher

      Your thoughtful commentary is always so predictable.

  • Fran Busby

    Wouldn’t it just be HEALTHIER to teach children that they are just fine with whatever genitalia they are born with, and teach tolerance for diversity of attitude towards all males and females?

    I find it extremely sick that a child is in any way allowed or even encouraged to deny the natural beauty they are born with, in favor of societal gender roles–whether typical or trans. Wouldn’t it just be better to tolerate a feminized little boy or a masculine little girl? These are major (and often subsequently regretted!) decisions made by well informed adult transgenders—much less a child.

    This is way beyond the scope of any school board and way into medical, mental health, parental rights, etc. Any parent with a self identified transgender child has way bigger concerns than forcing a school board’s hand on this matter….

    I find it extremely disturbing that the federal Department of Education is “holding a gun” to the head of local school boards by threatening withholding of federal funding for failure to to adopt these policies, per the School Boards own Q&A.

    Thank you Obama!

    • PotatoSalad

      I think they used to call them Tom Boys right?

  • JoeInReston

    I don’t have an issue with this move except in the area of sports. A person born male that identifies as a female must stick with male sports.

  • east297

    Ridiculous! What child can figure something like this out? They have probably picked up ideas from the internet or tv. Their parents should home school them if their sex status is so important to the child and their parents.

  • Backflip

    Look up and become familiar with the word Gleichschaltung folks. The exact same techniques used by the Nationalist Socialist German Workers Party to rise to power and force a whole unsuspecting population to accept their ideologies are being used today. Everything old is new again, why are we allowing this to happen again?

  • JustAMom

    If you have walked the hallways of South Lakes HS, you will see our young women in hijab, young men wearing turbans representing their faith; students wearing jewelry representing their faith; you will hear many languages; you will see young men and women from more than 70 countries; you will see many races; and most importantly, you will see young adults committed to their education.

    You will also see clubs, honor societies, and groups representing a variety of interests: music and the arts, Bible Study and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Young Democrats and Young Republicans, Muslim Student Association, Black Cultural Awareness, knitting, Best Buddies, Gay and Straight Alliance, athletics, finance, and the list goes on and on.

    You will find an Honor Code. You will find teachers, coaches, and administrators committed to our children.

    All of this is a result of FC Board Policies on non-discrimination. Adding our transgender children to this policy is no different than adding race or religion. Your children have Christian Bible Study Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes because of this non-discrimination policy. Your child with Down Syndrome, autism or other disability has Best Buddies Club, because of this non-discrimination policy. Your creative child can learn to knit, dance, play an instrument, sing, write, paint, sculpt, because of this non-discrimination policy. Your LGBT child has a club, because of this non-discrimination policy. Your black child has Black Cultural Awareness, because of this non-discrimination policy.

    It saddens me to see the hatred expressed toward these kids.

    This policy protects our transgender children from discrimination in their academic environment. This policy is not about who gets to use which bathroom. Judging from the comments here, they need this protection.

    • FULL TIME BOJANGLER

      OK, so have a Trans Club. Done deal. They can meet in the cafeteria once a week for an hour after school? Why make a federal case about it?

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