Fairfax County School Board commits to supporting transgender students, as community speaks out

Transgender pride flag (via Alexander Grey/Unsplash)

The Fairfax County School Board reaffirmed its support for transgender students last week as community members spoke out against policies proposed by the state that would limit their rights.

At a meeting on Thursday (Oct. 6), members issued a statement reiterating Fairfax County Public School’s commitment to policies that “will continue supporting our transgender and gender-expansive students, staff, and families”:

The Fairfax County School Board understands that our LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and families are worried about the impact of Governor Youngkin’s proposed model policies for transgender and gender-expansive students. Nearly one in five transgender and non-binary youth attempted suicide in the last year. LGBTQIA+ youth who found their school to be affirming reported lower rates of attempting suicide. It is necessary to ensure our school community is a place where all students can live without fear of prejudice, discrimination, harassment, or violence.

The statement followed walkouts in late September by thousands of students who opposed the draft policies from Gov. Glenn Youngkin and the Virginia Department of Education. Prior to the school board meeting, the LGBTQ staff advocacy group FCPS Pride led a protest in front of Luther Jackson Middle School.

Released on Sept. 16 and open for public comment through Oct. 26, the state’s draft policies direct schools to treat transgender and gender-expansive students according to their sex assigned at birth unless they present legal documentation of a change to their name or sex.

Even if a student changes their official school records, the policies say they must still use facilities based on their sex assigned at birth and prohibit schools from disciplining staff or students who misgender or deadname a student, citing free speech protections.

In its statement, the school board says FCPS will continue to adhere to its existing policy and regulation, which prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and promise acceptance of “a student or parent’s assertion of a student’s gender-expansive or transgender status.”

The policies allow students to use “a locker room or restroom consistent with the student’s gender identity,” which run opposed to the state’s new proposed policies.

When asked for a response to the school board’s statement, Youngkin’s office told FFXnow that the guidelines are not for the local school system to decide.

“Children belong to families not bureaucrats and school board members,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter wrote in an email. “Virginians spoke clearly last year and they continue to say that parents matter. Parents deserve to be involved in all critical discussions about their children. School boards should bring them into the conversation, not cut them out of it.”

Noting that most school districts in Virginia never adopted model policies under former governor Ralph Northam, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay told FFXnow last month that he believes the county would be on “safe legal ground” if FCPS sticks with its own policies.

Last week was the first school board meeting since Youngkin’s draft policies were released. The board also voted unanimously on a resolution to declare October “LGBTQIA+ History Month” in county schools.

Providence District School Board Representative Karl Frisch, who lost a bid this weekend for the House of Delegates, called the new state-proposed policies “shameful and divisive.”

“I’m proud of the policy and regulations we have implemented in Fairfax County Public Schools to protect and affirm our LGBTQIA students, particularly those who are transgender and gender expansive,” he said. “Unfortunately, we have not always moved fast enough. Generations of students and staff walked the halls of our buildings before they were treated with respect by our school division. Thankfully, we have made extraordinary progress, especially in recent years.”

He also commended students for protesting and deciding to “stand up for change.”

Other school board members, including Mason District’s Ricardy Anderson and Springfield’s Laura Jane Cohen, shared similar sentiments.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, many community members also shared concerns and fear about the policies. One FCPS student noted they were “terrified” by the governor’s proposals, and another called them “blatantly discriminatory.”

Several FCPS teachers also spoke, with one saying that the new policies would undermine a school system’s top goal of protecting students.

A number of speakers asked the school board to go beyond words and “take concrete actions” against Youngkin’s proposed policies.

Photo via Alexander Grey/Unsplash

Read the comments…

Recent Stories

A sign urging drivers to “take a moment” has been placed at the Oakton High School road exit (staff photo by Angela Woolsey) Fairfax County will introduce speed cameras to…

Comcast’s headquarters in Philadelphia (via Mike Conway/Unsplash) Fairfax County is still working through negotiations with Comcast for cable service in Reston. Although discussions are still underway, the Fairfax County Board…

Fairfax County police cruiser with lights on (via FCPD/Facebook) A dog was shot and killed by Fairfax County police during a search of a house in Herndon this morning. Officers…

Fairfax County’s I-66 Transfer Station (via Google Maps) Residents served by Haulin’ Trash, the now-bankrupt private trash collector, will be allowed to use Fairfax County’s waste disposal facilities at no charge…

The Ravel Dance Studio will re-open for fall classes 2020. The school will offer in person and virtual online instruction. With over 5000 sq. ft. to social distance the school has added air ionization filtration systems, ballet barres, acrylic dividers, hands free bathrooms, strict monitoring and more.

The Ravel Dance Studio will produce a Nutcracker Ballet Hollywood style video through the Reston Community CenterStage. REGISTRATION online begins August 17.

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

Chris Green is one of the DMV’s finest fitness instructors. A Lululemon and South Block ambassador, he is a coach and mentor to so many. He embodies grace, positivity and motivation in ways that no one else can. If we could all learn a thing or two from him, the world would be a much better place. He does so much for others, and does so with a smile on his face 99% of the time.

He recently ruptured his Achilles and has an incredibly long and tough journey ahead. As if COVID hadn’t impacted fitness professionals enough, throw this in the mix and it’s a double, even triple whammy. CG is no longer able to work and do what he loves for the time being because of this and we’d love your support.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here for just $99.

×

Subscribe to our mailing list