Some Virginia school districts are refusing to comply with Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin’s new policy requiring trans-identifying students to use restrooms and locker rooms that align with their biological sex.
Youngkin’s Education Department released its “
on Ensuring Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools” earlier this month.
“The Department supports efforts to protect and encourage respect for all students. Thus, we have a collective responsibility to address topics such as the treatment of transgender students with necessary compassion and respect for all students,” the policy stated.
It directs school administration to “defer to parents to make the best decisions with respect to their children.” Educators are required to address students by their biological sex unless told otherwise by the child’s parents. Additionally, school officials must keep parents informed regarding their child’s health, social, and psychological development.
Trans-identifying students are to use restrooms and locker room facilities that correspond with their biological sex. However, if federal law requires that trans-identifying students are allowed to use facilities of the opposite sex, then parents must be given the option to opt their children out of using those facilities to ensure the student's privacy and safety.
Several school districts have spoken out against the governor's policies.
Last week, Arlington Public Schools released a
declaring it does not plan to change its current policies to comply with the orders.
“I want our transgender, non-binary, and gender fluid students to hear loud and clear that you belong here, you are valued, and we stand with and support you,” Superintendent Dr. Francisco Durán wrote. “We have reviewed the model policies and determined that our current policies and policy implementation procedures that protect the rights of our transgender students will stay as is. Moreover, they are in alignment with decisions from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1973, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.”
Durán added that he opposes “any policy that infringes upon the rights of our students and threatens the safety and well-being of our LGBTQIA+ students.”
School Board Chair Michelle Rief and Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt wrote that they were “dismayed” by the guidelines.
“[W]e want to reaffirm our commitment to all students, staff and families, including our LGBTQIA+ community, that ACPS will continue to both implement and develop gender affirming policies for all ACPS students,” they said. “School Board Policy JB: Nondiscrimination in Education protects students from discrimination due to gender expression, gender identity, sexual harassment and transgender status.”
ACPS, Stafford County, and Fairfax County are still reviewing the new policies, the
reported. It is unclear whether school districts will face penalties for refusing to comply.
A spokesperson for the governor told the outlet, “The law states Virginia Department of Education shall provide and school boards shall adopt. The Virginia Department of Education has fulfilled its responsibility to develop the model policies, school boards are expected to follow the law.”
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Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.