Loudoun school board to vote on transgender policy after outcry – NBC4 Washington
The Loudoun County School Board will vote on a proposed policy on the treatment of transgender students on Tuesday, in their first session since parents went on fire over fairness issues chanted and shouted at a public meeting in June .
Parents concerned about the transgender student policy and the way schools teach race held up signs and sang the national anthem on June 22, garnering attention across the country. One man was arrested, another was convicted of trespassing and a third person was injured. School board members have received death threats, as they did earlier this year.
More than 150 people had registered to speak at the meeting on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., a spokesperson for Loudoun County Public Schools said.
Speakers will be subject to new meeting procedures announced on August 3, “in direct response to increased threats and unruly and dangerous behavior at the June 22 board meeting,” the school board said. in a press release.
“While the school board is committed to involving the public, the safety of all participants in the public participation process remains a concern. The safety and security of all staff, students and visitors remains our top priority, ”the school board said.
Members of the public can submit comments in person, virtually or in writing. Speakers were to register from 9 a.m. on Friday August 6 to noon on August 10. Drop-in registrations for public comment are accepted up to five minutes before the start of the meeting.
Public speakers will be allowed inside in small groups of 10, in order of speaking, and will then have no more than two minutes. Prohibited items include handbags, bags, backpacks, weapons, “sign or flag stands” and megaphones. Go here for all the details.
Asked about safety at the meeting on Tuesday evening, a spokesperson for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said: “We have allocated the appropriate resources based on the nature of the public meeting and the intelligence we have developed to this day.”
The school board unanimously voted to close the public comment portion of the June 22 session after repeatedly issuing warnings about decorum and disruption.
“The meeting escalated,” a school district spokesperson said as the board ordered people to leave.
The parents chanted “Shame on you” and raised their middle fingers.
A school board meeting heated up in haste after the board voted to end public comment on a hot issue. Sheriff’s deputies responded and had to evict at least one person from the premises. News4’s Jackie Bensen reports.
School board president Brenda Sheridan said that evening the board would continue to work to make schools fair.
“We will not back down from fighting for the rights of our students and continuing to focus on equity,” she said.
Sheridan called for an end to “politically motivated antics” and said “strong voices aimed at making our schools a political battleground will not silence the work of our students.”
Proposed policy 8040 on the rights of transgender and heterosexual students would affect the use by staff of names and pronouns of transgender students; access of transgender students to sports, washrooms and locker rooms; and the training of mental health professionals in schools.
The policy became national news after Tanner Cross, an elementary school gym teacher, said in May that he would not follow the policy because he believed it would harm children and violate his religious beliefs.
The school district has placed Cross on paid administrative leave. A district court judge ruled that Cross should be reinstated, citing his rights to speech and religious freedom. The school board is appealing the decision.
Here are the main points of the proposed policy on the treatment of transgender students.
- Staff should allow transgender and gender-wide students to “use the name and chosen gender pronouns that reflect their consistently asserted gender identity”. Staff should use students’ names and pronouns. “Staff or students who intentionally and persistently refuse to respect a student’s gender identity by using the wrong name and gender pronoun are in violation of this policy. ”
- Staff should allow transgender and multisex students to participate in “interschool, extracurricular and extracurricular activities… in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity”.
- Pupils should be allowed to use toilets and changing rooms which “correspond to their consistently asserted gender identity”. Staff should “take steps to designate gender-neutral or single-use toilets commensurate with the size of the school.”
- “All school-based mental health professionals should be trained in topics related to LGBTQ + students, including procedures to prevent and respond to bullying, harassment and identity-based discrimination. gender expression. ”
- “The superintendent is authorized to develop regulations and school procedures to ensure consistency of practice. ”
School systems in Virginia adopt similar regulations; new state law gives counties little leeway to consider alternatives.
Go here to view the full text of proposed policy 8040.
Go here to view the Virginia Department of Education’s “Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia Public Schools”.
Stick with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story.