Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki
A transphobic school teacher in the US state of Virginia has quit in tears during a hearing on a more inclusive policy for transgender students in the state, which has since been approved.
The Loudoun County Public School Board in northern Virginia approved the policy which will allow students to choose bathrooms that match their gender identity and also choose their preferred pronouns.
The Board had to delay the vote after listening to 150 speakers for and against the policy over four hours before voting the policy through by 7 votes to 2.
As well as allowing transgender students to use their preferred pronouns and bathrooms the policy - 8040 - also states that mental health professionals should complete training on issues related to the LGBTQ community.
It also says it would be a violation of the policy if, “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.”
The Loudoun County Public School Board heard from a variety of people on the policy including those supporting the move such as one parent who said his transgender son, who came out before policies like this were considered, would have benefitted from the policy.
They also heard from people like teacher Laura Morris, who had been working as a teacher in the county for five years. He told them: “School board, I quit. I quit your policies, I quit your trainings, and I quit being a cog in a machine that tells me to push highly politicised agendas on our most vulnerable constituents – the children.
“I will find employment elsewhere. I encourage all parents and staff in this county to flood the private schools.”
A woman who says she's a Loudoun County teacher just broke into tears addressing the school board saying she would not honor the transgender pronoun policy because of her faith and she told the board she was quitting her job, right there on the spot. @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/GTPa2C0Twz— Drew Wilder (@DrewWilderTV) August 11, 2021
Another teacher, Emily Hart said she couldn’t stand for the policy given her religious beliefs.
At the hearing new safety measures were put into place following the disruption of previous hearings. NBC4 reports that people had wait outside the building for their number to be called by someone with a megaphone.
They were then able to walk through security and wait until they were allowed to speak before the Board.
Following the approval of the policy, the board member Jeff Morse told the Washington Post that it was a “difficult night for the community” calling the policy “divisive, anti-family, anti-privacy, anti-teacher”.
However, the move has been praised by many including the campaign group Equality Loudon who applauded the board for their “courageous and informed step”.
We appreciate our School Board for taking this courageous and informed step forward for our trans and gender-expansive students. We support their continued efforts to fight for equity and equality. It is difficult to express the gratitude our community feels for this decision.— Equality Loudoun (@EqualityLoudoun) August 11, 2021
Transgender issues in schools have become fiercely contested issues in the United States in the last year or so, with some states already passing legislation affecting transgender pupils' use of bathrooms and participation in school sports.
The Human Rights Campaign advocacy group has said that 2021 is already the worst year for anti-trans legislation in the States. They say 250 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced, with many targeting the trans community.
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