Virginia’s largest school district announced Tuesday that it will be defying guidance from Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration that requires students to use bathrooms on the basis of biological sex, rather than gender identity, according to a press release.
The Virginia Department of Education released a final version of its model policies for the state’s public schools in July that requires teachers to use a student’s biological name and pronouns unless given written permission by a parent to use something else. Fairfax County Public Schools said it does not plan to adopt the state guidance after determining that the district policies are in line with federal and state anti-discrimination laws, according to a press release.
“I’d like to thank the many of you who have expressed your concern to me about the Virginia Department of Education’s new model policies regarding the treatment of transgender and gender-expansive students in public schools, and how they would impact our current guidelines for establishing a safe, supportive, welcoming and inclusive school environment for all students, including our gender-expansive and transgender students,” Michelle Reid, Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent wrote in the press release. “We have concluded our detailed legal review and determined that our current Fairfax County Public School policies are consistent with federal and state anti-discrimination laws as required by the new model policies.”
Fairfax County Public Schools will continue to call students by their chosen names and pronouns, the press release stated. Bathrooms, locker rooms and field trips will remain separated on the basis of gender identity rather than biological sex.
Youngkin’s finalized policies also require school districts to notify parents of any bullying incidents in the school.
Since the policies were released, several school districts within the state have chosen to reject the guidance, though school boards must adopt resolutions which align with the guidance; Alexandria City Public School is among the districts that will not be adopting policies that align with the guidance. The Virginia High School League, the state authority on high school sports, announced that their organization would not be adopting the guidance that requires sports to be separated on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity.
“We will continue to consider feedback from everyone on Team FCPS [Fairfax County Public Schools] – our students, staff, families and community, in order to best support our students and staff while working with parents and caregivers,” Reid said in the press release. “We will continue to make every effort to encourage and support communication between students and parents/caregivers.”
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