Last Thursday, the Fairfax County school board voted to add “gender identity” to its list of protected classes, rejecting the voice of hundreds of parents who filled the school board meeting to overflowing. Board members made the same claim that other school boards in Virginia have made – the Obama administration is requiring this policy, threatening to withhold federal money for things like lunches if schools don’t bow to the President’s version of sexual morality. Remarkably, using the force of the federal government to bully school boards by threatening to literally keep children from eating has raised nary an eyebrow among the media and liberal secular elite. But the ACLU was really upset that some parents booed the school board or exhibited outrage that the school board is putting their children at risk.
The ACLU is also promoting such policies saying, “Forcing transgender students to use segregated facilities is intensely stigmatizing.”
To this point, however, we are not aware of any other county in Virginia that has adopted this policy. In fact, at least two others have rejected it.
The board also hid behind a “legal opinion” offered by Attorney General Mark Herring that came to a different conclusion than any other Virginia Attorney General who has analyzed the issue prior, saying that school boards have the authority to amend their “non-discrimination” policies beyond what the General Assembly has authorized. In Virginia, counties have only the legal authority granted them by the state (a concept called the “Dillion rule”).
The Fairfax policy change could result in serious disruption to the educational climate and will likely allow transgender children to use restrooms and locker rooms of the opposite sex, despite board member claims that schools will deal with that on a “case by case” basis.
Once again, this type of policy forces our children – in elementary school – to confront sex issues they are not ready to handle and to have their privacy invaded in the school bathroom. We believe a policy that provides alternative facilities for a child struggling with sexual identity issues is more appropriate and protects the rights of all children. Our children deserve to know that they can walk into a bathroom and not be confronted by someone of the opposite sex.
That’s why, prior to the school board meeting, I emailed the members of the school board, sharing our concerns with the policy and offering Alliance Defending Freedom’s alternative policy that protects both the privacy rights of all kids while providing alternatives for children who deal with sexual identity issues. We also mobilized families in Fairfax through our email alerts and we called several thousand families in the county alerting them to the vote.
The good news from Fairfax, despite the school board’s rejection of common sense and the concerns of parents, is that several churches and even the local Republican party of the county mobilized to oppose the policy! In fact, churches that heretofore had been reluctant to get involved in “political” issues encouraged their members to contact school board members or attend the meeting.
Erick Erickson of RedState often says of the onslaught of the sexual liberty agenda, “You will be made to care.” Maybe, just maybe, some churches and political leaders in Virginia are finally taking heed.