FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. (DC News Now) — Decision makers in Northern Virginia school districts are pushing back on Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s new model transgender student policy, many of whom saying it would harm those students.
The policy, which is not in place yet, could even face legal challenges before it begins.
“Unfortunately, with this governor, it seems like the cruelty is the point,” said Karl Frisch, a Fairfax County School Board member and Democrat running for a seat in the House of Delegates.
Frisch emphasized the county’s transgender policy remains unchanged.
“We will continue to support our transgender and gender-expansive students,” he said.
That aligns with the message sent out by Superintendent Michelle Reid over the weekend.
“Please be assured that FCPS remains committed to an inclusive learning environment for each and every student and staff member and that our schools will continue to be safe and respectful learning spaces,” Reid wrote in a letter that can be read in its entirety here.
Reid was not the only one. Arlington County Public Schools Superintendent Francisco Durán and School Board Chair Reid Goldstein shared a statement with families, too.
“APS will continue to uphold our core mission and policies to ensure that every child receives equal educational access and opportunities,” they wrote. “We value the many diverse identities within our schools, where every student can authentically express themselves, including those in the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Frisch said Fairfax County’s counsel is reviewing the policy to inform the school board of its options. They are also reviewing how it aligns with the law on the books in Virginia that makes school boards establish policies to “address common issues regarding transgender students in accordance with evidence-based best practices.”
“The law is very clear,” Frisch said. “This is about protecting transgender and gender-expansive students. You can’t fulfill a law that says you must protect by saying, ‘we’re washing our hands of it.'”
The Youngkin administration has said the policy is about parental rights, an integral part of the messaging since the campaign trail.
“The 2022 model policy posted [on Friday] delivers on the governor’s commitment to preserving parental rights and upholding the dignity and respect of all public school students,” Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a statement on Friday. “It is not under a school’s or the government’s purview to impose a set of particular ideological beliefs on all students. Key decisions rest, first and foremost, with the parents. The previous policies implemented under the Northam Administration did not uphold constitutional principles and parental rights, and will be replaced.”