A Virginia county school board elected not to enact transgender policies mandated by the state that looked to "address common issues regarding transgender students."
The Augusta County School Board called a special meeting Thursday to vote on whether it would change its policies in order to reflect transgender policies required by the Virginia Department of Education. The DOE's policies state how educators should refer to and accommodate transgender students.
Virginia's model policies, which look to “ensure that all students, including transgender students, have safe, supportive, and inclusive school environments,” require schools to call students by their preferred pronouns and eliminate dress code provisions, which would allow students to wear attire that is not gender-specific.
Most of the meeting’s attendees opposed the policy changes and wore red in solidarity against them, a local NBC affiliate reported.
Board member John Ocheltree voted "no" on the state's policies but acknowledged that no students should be bullied or harassed.
“Like many parents and grandparents of Augusta County, the Virginia Department of Education policy does not sit well with me,” he said.
And while most objected to the state policies, there was a small group of parents at the meeting who supported the model policies.
“The impact of every person in a school being supportive has the potential to change statistics and decrease the suicide rate of the LGBTQ+ youth from 40 percent to none,” said attendee Elizabeth White, a mother of a transgender child.
The board's rejection of the transgender policies could result in legal action taken against them due to state law mandating that school boards throughout the state adopt policies "that are consistent with but may be more comprehensive than" its model.