Last night I was at the Fairfax County Public School Board meeting at the Luther Jackson Middle School. The room was packed with people wearing pink, purple, or green.
Those wearing pink and purple supported making changes to the Family Life Education, such as using the ideologically charged term “sex assigned at birth” in place of the scientifically accurate term “biological sex.”
Why do they argue that this change should be made? One man in purple said it was so that transgendered people can “follow their feelings.”
Those wearing green supported keeping science and reality at the center of the Family Life Education curriculum. “My son was my son before birth, and his sex was never assigned,” one mother in green said in opposing the recommended changes. “Everyone in the medical community referred to my unborn son as a ‘boy,’” never questioning the chromosomal reality that was revealed through blood work and an ultrasound before he was ever born.
Using the term “sex assigned at birth” takes away from the dignity of the unborn. Children who tragically die during pregnancy are no less the sons and daughters of those who love them.
Despite the 1,318 email comments received by the school board last week (83% of which opposed the term “sex assigned at birth”), the School Board rejected Board Member Elizabeth Schultz’s motion to postpone the vote until the parents could be adequately engaged. The Board members did not have any opportunity to read, much less discuss, those public comments prior to the meeting where they were to vote on the proposal.
Parents of all backgrounds throughout the community want to be engaged, but are not able to do so in such a short time, Shultz argued. “We must engage the public in a meaningful way. This is not happening.” She moved to postpone the vote until October.
Other members of the School Board, including Megan McLaughlin, opposed the motion to postpone. “Thousands is not 1.1 million.” McLaughlin said, referring to the size of Fairfax County. She said that the School Board should vote now, confident in these proposed changes because of the vetting by staff and other subject matter experts. She said that the FLE changes came “from those individuals who know this subject matter far better.”
Claiming to respect families, the School Board voted against Shultz’s motion and voted to pass the change to the term “sex assigned at birth” by 10 to 2.
Shultz responded to the statement about looking to subject matter experts by pointing out that 8 of 10 parents who participated in public comments on this subject opposed the change. “I will tell you that the most important educational experts that we should be listening to are parents.”
The School Board did not listen to these parents. They did not listen to the testimony from doctors and the scientific and medical community about why “biological sex” is the appropriate term. They voted overwhelmingly in support of the change to use the term “sex assigned at birth.”
Parents in Fairfax have an opportunity to make their voices heard when the School Board election happens on November 5th, 2019.