FALLS CHURCH, Va. (DC News Now) — After dozens of people rallied outside Fairfax County’s school board meeting on Thursday night in opposition to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s draft transgender student model policy, the board’s chair shared that the governing body unanimously opposes the proposal.
Chair Rachna Sizemore Heizer began the meeting at Jackson Middle School by reading a statement from the school board, which members said was crafted over the past week by all members.
“Protecting, supporting, and affirming our transgender and gender-expansive students is critical to achieving a safe and respectful learning environment for all students and providing them with equal access to educational programs and services, and activities,” she said. “The work to do so in a holistically inclusive way continues, but we know that from this commitment, we will not waver.”
Fairfax County joins Alexandria City Public Schools as vocal opponents to the Republican governor’s policy.
Then, while reading a resolution in support of LGBTQIA+ History Month, board members one by one shared their messages of support for the community.
“Picking on children, using them for political purposes, is simply wrong,” said Karen Keys-Gamarra.
Karl Frisch, a Democratic school board member who is running for a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates, read the resolution and then praised the rallygoers for writing a new chapter of LGTBTQIA+ history.
“Take the Governor’s shameful and divisive model policy,” he said. “It flies in the face of state law and legal precedent, trampling the rights of transgender and gender-expansive students.”
No lawsuits have been filed against the policy, though both jurisdictions in Northern Virginia have questioned its legality.
“Our school board is committed to following the Virginia Human Rights Act, Title IX’s prohibition on gender identity discrimination, and the settled law of Grimm versus Gloucester County School Board… which requires respect for students’ gender identity,” said the statement Sizemore Heizer read.
Gov. Youngkin’s office issued a statement saying students “belong to families not bureaucrats and school board members.”
“Virginians spoke clearly last year and they continue to say that parents matter,” the statement read. “Parents deserve to be involved in all critical discussions about their children. Schoolboards should bring them into the conversation, not cut them out of it.”