Parents to School Board: No!Sep 09, 2016
On Wednesday, the Prince William County School Board met to discuss and receive public input on its newly proposed “non-discrimination” policy that seeks to elevate “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to protected classes within their schools.
In other words, some members of the Prince William School Board think it’s a good idea to make sure that boys, ages 5 to 18, are able to use the girls’ bathrooms, changing areas, and communal showers, to attend girls-only sex education classes, and to sleep in the same room – or bed – with other girls on an overnight field trip.
The significance of this proposal was not lost on the residents of Prince William County, who filled the large meeting room with several hundred concerned parents and citizens. After a lengthy back-and-forth from the Board about how the public comment time would be structured, the Chair made the final call by limiting the designated comment time to the first 20 speakers who had signed up online, while the several dozen remaining speakers were permitted to speak at the very end of the meeting (around midnight!).
Fortunately, The Family Foundation’s attorney on staff was among those first 20 speakers to address the Board while we had their full attention. We used our comment time to make sure the Board knew full well that:
1) The School Board is not legally required to add “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” to its policy.
2) The School Board is actually legally prohibited from adding “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” to its “non-discrimination” policy per state law, federal law, and the U.S. Constitution.; and
3) The School Board would be opening itself up to major civil liability and endless lawsuits by passing this policy that forces children into dangerous and vulnerable situations, and would also violate students’ Constitutional rights to bodily privacy and religious exercise.
Thankfully, after the public comments, more than half of the Board members expressed sincere reservations about acting on the policy so quickly and in light of all of the current legal challenges in Virginia and across the country. We feel optimistic that based upon the public’s input, the Board will most likely delay making any decisions about this policy change in the near future.
With Prince William’s 88,000 students and over 10,000 faculty and staff, the stakes could not be higher. With your help, we will continue to advocate for common-sense policies that protect all students’ safety, privacy, and dignity. As for now, we will continue doing that by ensuring that our children are not made to be a social experiment through this outlandish and politically motivated policy.