A school district in Northern Virginia announced Tuesday that it will not abide by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s guidance regarding transgender students and parents’ rights.
Fairfax County Public Schools announced that “transgender and gender expansive” students will continue to be addressed by their chosen name and preferred pronouns, will be allowed to participate in activities, school trips and access facilities that align with their gender identity instead of their biological sex, and will continue to “have their privacy” regarding their “gender expansive or transgender status.”
🚨Fairfax County Public Schools just told parents that they will be defying @GovernorVA’s final guidance that directed schools to abide by the names and pronouns listed on students’ official records unless parents officially request otherwise.— Nicki Neily (@nickineily) August 15, 2023
FCPS keeps undermining parents. pic.twitter.com/ZwptvmeyEm
“Let me be clear that FCPS remains committed to fostering a safe, supportive, welcoming, and inclusive school environment for all students and staff, including our transgender and gender expansive students and staff,” Michelle Reid, the superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools, said. “All students have a right to privacy in FCPS facilities or while participating in FCPS sponsored events. Any student who has a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, shall be provided with reasonable, non-stigmatizing accommodations.”
Michele Exner, senior advisor at parental rights organization Parents Defending Education, slammed the school district's decision.
"Per usual, leadership at FCPS is more concerned with appeasing liberal activists than they are in ensuring ALL students feel safe in schools and on-campus facilities. Superintendent Reid's recent message regarding Virginia's transgender policy is completely one-sided and ignores the concerns of hundreds of parents who are rightfully worried about how this policy will impact their daughters. The FCPS position potentially forces girls to share their locker rooms, sport fields, and even lodging on field trips with biological males. This is insanity and parents should not stand for it. Parents Defending Education will continue to fight back on this nonsensical and discriminatory policy," Exner said.
Townhall previously covered how Virginia’s Department of Education updated its model policies regarding transgender students, despite outcry from LGBTQ+ advocates. Going forward, schools in the state are supposed to address students by their name and sex listed on their official record. Teachers and other staff members are forbidden from referring to a student by different names and pronouns unless a parent requests the change in writing. Students are required to use school facilities matching the sex on their record.
“All children in Virginia deserve to have a parent engaged in their life and to be treated with dignity and respect. The VDOE updated model policies reaffirm my administration’s continued commitment to ensure that every parent is involved in conversations regarding their child’s education, upbringing, and care,” Youngkin said in a statement when the policies were released.
Parents’ rights were at the center of the guidance, as last year, it was revealed that Fairfax County was requiring teachers to complete a training program that said that parental consent would not be required for transgender students who want to “socially transition” at school.
"They [school officials] think that parents have no right to know what your child is discussing with their teacher or their counselor, particularly when some of the most important topics, most important topics that a child may want to discuss are being determined," Youngkin said at a rally about the school district.
Shortly after, when the guidance was initially introduced, Youngkin faced backlash from pro-trans supporters. Some schools in Virginia, near Washington, D.C., staged walkouts over the policies and some stated outright that they would not implement the policies.
“We needed to fix a wrong,” Youngkin said in an interview with CNN over the backlash. “The previous administration had had a policy that excluded parents and in fact, particularly didn't require the involvement of parents. And let's be clear, parents have this right and children don't belong to the state, they belong to families.”
In Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial debate, Youngkin stated that he believed parents should be involved in their children’s education. His opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, said: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools that they should teach.” Youngkin won the election.
This moment will go down in history.— Corey A. DeAngelis, school choice evangelist (@DeAngelisCorey) November 3, 2021
Politicians shouldn't take a stance against parental rights ever again.
Parents are paying attention.
Terry McAuliffe: "I don't think parents should be telling schools what they should teach." pic.twitter.com/rs6pSWZw79