A school board that has sparked outrage over its critical race theory lessons has voted to force teachers to address transgender students by their chosen pronouns.
The Loudoun County School Board approved Policy 8040 Wednesday night, which also allows trans children to use the lockerroom and bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
Policy 8040, which had attracted vociferous protesters and supporters at previous school board meetings, was approved a with a vote of 7-to-2 after more than four hours of public comments and debate. It was also amended multiple times.
The policy goes into effect immediately, Inside NoVa reported.
After months of debate, the Loudoun County School Board approved Policy 8040 Wednesday night, which allows transgender students to be called by their preferred pronouns and provides them with equal access to school activities and facilities
‘The best interest of every child is what guides my every vote,’ said Atoosa Reaser, Vice Chair of Loudoun School Board. ‘Tonight, the school board adopted a policy to protect our transgender students because feeling safe and welcome is a first step to learning.’
The new policy allows transgender student-athletes to participate on sports teams based on their gender identity and permits them to use aligning bathrooms and locker rooms.
Educators and district staff are also required to call students by their preferred pronouns.
In addition, school mental health professionals will now be required to complete training on topics relating to LGBTQ+ students, such as bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Policy 8040, which had been highly protested at previous school board meetings, was approved a with a vote of 7-to-2 after more than four hours of public comments and debate. It had been widely protested by parents and members of the academic community
The policy’s passage was met with mixed response from community members.
‘We all had a sense of a wide margin of support but this was a big relief,’ former LCPS student Nicholas Gothard told the Loudon Times-Mirror. ‘On an issue that was divisive our school board showed it fights for our kids.’
‘We have a number of students in the school system who are very, very vulnerable, and to have the ability to be called the name that they asked to be called, and to be able to use the bathroom that identifies with their gender the courts have spoken,’ said Sen. Jennifer Boysko (D-33rd), who represents a portion of Loudoun and Fairfax Counties.
‘Tonight’s a difficult night for our community,’ school board Jeff Morse told the Washington Post, arguing that the policy was ‘divisive, anti-family, anti-privacy, anti-teacher’ and harmful to students.
The policy’s passage was met with mixed response from community members. Atoosa Reaser, Vice Chair of Loudoun School Board, took to Twitter after the vote to announce her support for the policy, saying it is ‘a first step to learning’
Others were unhappy about the policy being enacted: ‘The only ones adversely affected in these schools are the girls,’ Twitter user @MartyTen121 wrote. ‘Compete with biological boys, which research proves have unfair advantage (along with common sense). Share bathrooms and locker rooms with biological boys.’
‘The WOKE Loudoun County School Board passed Policy 8040,’ Daniel Baranowski tweeted. ‘This was in direct opposition to 1000s of parental wishes setting up another legal showdown with a Radical Left, in-your-face School Board of whom 6 are being recalled by voters!’
‘Everyone in Loudoun should pull their kids,’ said Twitter user @lampwright4.
‘Thank you. I went to Loudoun County from K-12 many moons ago. I was a trans kid but not out. This would have meant so much to me,’ said @ThisIsJayBrown.
‘The residents of Loudoun County by not flooding this meeting are allowing these trolls to do what they do. Which is to operate behind closed doors and vote in the dark of night. VOTE THEM OUT,’ argued @MikeJoh67178664.
This is the controversial policy that the Loudon County School Board voted to adopt on Wednesday night. It is not the first of its kind and was widely protested by parents in Virginia
Policy 8040 is reportedly a direct response to Virginia House Bill 145 and Senate Bill 161 that were enacted by the state’s general assembly to address the treatment of transgender students in public elementary and secondary schools.
According to the Times-Mirror, school boards across the state are required to adopt policies consistent with the Virginia Department of Education’s Model Policies with the Treatment of Transgender Students in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools no later than the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.
The policy had been fiercely opposed by teachers and staff who say it goes against their religion, but the mostly progressive school board is determined to vote it in.
On Tuesday night, the district held the final meeting for parents and staff to plead their case for or against the policy. The vote was scheduled for then but so many people showed up to the meeting that it turned to chaos and was pushed back to Wednesday.
More than 200 people showed up Tuesday night to protest the vote. Among the protestors were teachers, former parents and students who didn’t want the policy to be voted in, and LGBTQ activists who did.
Parents attended a packed Loudoun County School board meeting in June which descended into chaos. They have long protested the policy
The unidentified male former student sobbed at the microphone about how he’d been abused as a 13-year-old and he didn’t want his brothers to go through it. Before he could finish, the chairwoman cut him off and told him to yield the microphone. The man walked off still crying after having the microphone feed cut
A former Loudoun County student was cut off after telling the public school board that he was the victim of sexual abuse as a child and didn’t want his brothers to go through the same thing.
‘As a 13-year-old-boy I was molested. I don’t want sexual predators to slip through the cracks.
‘The policies here today are tying the hands of teachers and parents,’ the unidentified former student said.
‘I would never want what happened to me happen to somebody else. I look at my little brothers and am reminded of the things I’ve gone through.’
Before he could finish, his microphone was cut off.
The Loudoun County School Board Chair Brenda Sheridan is who is thought to have cut him off
A woman – identified as Brenda Sheridan – said: ‘We need you to yield the mic.’
The school board has not explained why he was cut off.
One person who spoke out was teacher Laura Morris who quit her job on the spot after complaining that she was being forced to teach a ‘highly politicized’ curriculum.
Another teacher who protested against the policy, said it would ‘defile children’ and was suspended.
Tanner Cross, a gym teacher, was suspended from his job after speaking out against it but later reinstated after a court ruled he was protected by freedom of speech laws.
He said at a different meeting: ‘My name is Tanner Cross and I am speaking out of love for those who are suffering from gender dysphoria.’
’60 Minutes’ recently interviewed over 30 young people who transitioned but they felt led astray because of lack of pushback or how easy it was to make physical changes to their bodies… They are now de-transitioning.
‘It’s not my intention to hurt anyone, but there are certain truths that we must face when ready.
‘We condemn school policies [that] would damage children, defile the holy image of God.
‘I love all of my students but I will never lie to them regardless of the consequences.
‘I’m a teacher but I serve God first and I will not affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it’s against my religion.
‘It’s lying to a child, it’s abuse to a child, and it’s sinning against our God,’ he said.
Shortly after the meeting, Shawn Lacey, principal of Leesburg Elementary, sent an email to parents saying Cross had been put on leave.
Laura Morris has been a teacher for ten years, and for the past five has taught within Loudoun County Public Schools. On Tuesday night she quit, saying she could no longer teach their ‘highly-politicized agendas’ and objecting at being asked to report colleagues to the authorities
Earlier this year, teacher Bryan Tanner Cross was suspended after protesting against the same policy because he said it went against his religion
The county, one of the richest in America, has become a microcosm of the cultural battle that is going in most parts of the country.
Its school board has pushed Critical Race Theory (CRT) on teachers and enforced it to such an extent that one quit, saying on Tuesday night that the promise of a new school year with ‘shiny new tech’ didn’t absolve the guilt she felt having to teach CRT.
Loudoun County is not the first district in the country to adopt a transgender protection and equality policy.
New York City’s is in effect already. It tells students and staff they must allow kids to go by the pronouns they identify with, including ‘ze’.
The situation in Loudoun County is significant because the county is not a progressive, Democratic city like New York, and is instead an indicator of middle America.
Loudoun County is not the first district in the country to adopt a transgender policy, however the situation in Loudoun is significant because the county is not progressive