Words: Alastair James; pictures:
A school board in the US state of Virginia has rejected the state’s inclusive policies regarding transgender and non-binary students saying it is not taking action “at this time”, according to reports.
The state enacted a law last year mandating pupils be allowed to use bathrooms and changing rooms that match their gender identity, as well as adopt children’s preferred pronouns and gender-neutral dress codes. Schools had to implement these policies at the start of the 2021-22 academic year.
But it’s clear not every school in the state has, with some contesting or rejecting them.
"The school board let them down"
The Advocate reports that a meeting of the Chesapeake School Board was held on Monday (23 August) where the board heard from 70 people, with many focusing on the debate around bathrooms.
One woman is reported to have claimed, without evidence, that allowing transgender pupils into sing-sex bathrooms would lead to “gang rape,” while others claimed using a pupil’s preferred pronouns undermines their parent’s authority.
The New York Post reports one parent as saying: “When my children are at school, they are students and not the school’s children. My parental authority doesn’t end in the parking lot.”
Victoria Profitt, the chair of the Chesapeake School Board, is reported as saying after the discussion: “We have determined we will not take any action on the proposed transgender policies at this time. Which means it is not in effect.”
Patricia King, a board member who supported the measures, said: “I don’t think [transgender students] should be fearful because we will protect all our children but I think the school board let them down.”
It’s not the only school board in Virginia to do so after the Newport News School Board voted down the measures last week but is reconsidering them on Thursday (26 August)
Earlier this month, the Loudoun County Public School Board in Virginia voted through the measures by 7-2. They heard from many people, with one conservative teacher crying as she quit her job in front of the board.
Laura Morris told the board: “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.”
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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