Feds Force ‘Gender Equality’ On Virginia School District
Mandates from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights may have forced a Virginia school district to add “gender identity” language to its nondiscrimination policy, and it has parents furious.
Hundreds of parents crammed in to a Fairfax County Public School Board meeting Thursday night to voice their opposition to the move, though the board eventually voted 10-1 in favor of adding “gender identity” to its nondiscrimination policy, the Washington Times reported.
Many parents were concerned the new rules will allow boys and girls who identify as the opposite sex to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice, and that the school board is rushing the decision without asking for their input.
One member of the school board told the newspaper they had to add the language to the policy, or the Department of Education would cut their federal funding.
“The federal government has been very clear that they expect local schools to amend their policies,” John Foster, a lawyer for the school district, told the Times.
Fairfax County School Board Chair Tamara Derenal Kaufax released a statement shortly after the meeting to explain that the new policy is intended as a proactive step to protect the dignity of all students and employees, though she said it was a result of recent federal mandates.
“The U.S. Department of Education has told school districts that transgender students are protected from discrimination under Title IX and has recently required some school districts including Alexandria, Virginia, to amend their policies to expressly include gender identity,” the statement said.
The school district will now hire a consultant to help with developing regulations to go along with the new policy.
Efforts to add the language to the school’s nondiscrimination policy began in March as a way to help transgender students and staff in the schools feel more welcome, but some are calling it simply government overreach.
According to Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition, a religious advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., the board has been trying for weeks to pass the policy change, but only informed parents it would be voting on the change two days before the meeting.
“The School Board is showing a glaring disregard for the interests of the majority of parents with children in the county’s public schools,” she said in a statement.”No public hearing was ever held, just two brief 30 minute testimony periods and then ‘Bingo!’, the School Board will vote.”
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