School board rejects Virginia’s new transgender policy guidelines

Progressive politicians and officials, particularly within the realm of academia, have increasingly pursued an agenda meant to accommodate, if not promote, the LGBTQ community.

Although the Virginia Department of Education has taken such steps by publishing guidance and policies for schools to use in response to transgender or gender nonconforming students, one county school board has flatly rejected the recommendations.

“May be more comprehensive”

According to the Washington Examiner, the Augusta County School Board met on Thursday and voted unanimously against the state’s policy guidance.

The meeting was attended by many parents who expressed concerns about the recommendations.

Now, the school board could be on the verge of a legal battle with the state’s Department of Education since state law requires that school districts adhere to the department’s policies. The contested policy itself states that school boards must adopt policies “that are consistent with but may be more comprehensive than” the recommendations.

At issue is the VDOE’s so-called “Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools,” which is ostensibly concerned only with ensuring that all students enjoy “safe, supportive, and inclusive school environments” free from discrimination or stigma related to gender identity.

The 26-page document instructed all school districts to make accommodations and enact policies regarding bullying and harassment of transgender students. Additionally, the new policies require school officials to keep information including biological sex and legal names private — even from parents who are not “affirming” a student’s preferences.

“Does not sit well with me”

Schools are also expected to accommodate a student’s preferred name and gender identity, including in official school records where feasible.

The guidelines further require that schools maintain gender-neutral dress and hair codes for all students while allowing gender nonconforming students to access all events and facilities, including restrooms and locker rooms.

According to the model policy, educators and staff will be provided special training and professional development regarding transgender and nonconforming students, among “other considerations” such as gender-neutral and inclusive curriculum.

WVIR reported that nearly 500 parents showed up to the special meeting called by the August County School Board, nearly all of whom were registering disapproval of the recommendations.

One board member, Dr. John Ocheltree, echoed such concerns, stating: “I do not think that any child in Augusta County Public Schools should ever be bullied, harassed, or in any way made to feel uncomfortable in their respective schools. Like many parents and grandparents in Augusta County, the Virginia Department of Education policy does not sit well with me.”

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