Strike over planned anti-trans guidelines in Loudoun County schools

LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA — Students at various schools in Loudoun County and across the state plan to walk out of classrooms Tuesday to protest new Virginia guidelines restricting the rights of transgender students.

The new “model policiesreleased Friday, they will likely have to be adopted by all of the state’s 133 school districts in October. They will require transgender students to use school bathrooms and locker rooms that match the sex they were assigned at birth. The policies also make it difficult for students to change their name and gender at school.

Local lawmakers and advocacy groups quickly opposed the move. US Representative Gerry Connolly (D-11) referred to the policies of the Youngkin administration as “a despicable display of bigotry and ignorance from the man who ran for office on the false promise of protecting Virginia students.”

The Pride Liberation Project, a student advocacy group that focuses on the rights of LGBTQIA students in Virginia, also opposed the change.

“These revised guidelines will only harm students at a time when students are facing unprecedented mental health challenges, and are a callous attempt to politicize the existence of LGBTQIA+ students for political gain,” the group said in a statement. press. “We call on the VDOE to reverse its preliminary reviews and for school boards to reaffirm their commitment to protecting all students by rejecting these proposed intolerant guidelines.”

In response to the new policies, the Pride Liberation Project helped organize walkouts at more than 90 schools across the state. The strikes are planned for different times on Tuesday.

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Walkouts are planned at the following schools in Loudoun County on Tuesday:

  • domain high school
  • heritage high school
  • John Champe High School
  • Loudoun County High School
  • Loudoun Valley High School
  • Park View High School
  • riverside high school
  • Tuscarora High School

“School is one of the few places where my queer friends and I can feel safe to be ourselves,” a Prince William County student told the Pride Liberation Project. “Turning that affirmative space into a place of fear and bigotry is abhorrent and only hurts students.”

Under the model policies, if a student wants to participate in a sport or other extracurricular activities, they should only participate in teams that align with the sex assigned at birth.
Youngkin’s Virginia Department of Education also stated in the model policies that a student’s legal name and gender cannot be changed “even with written instructions from a parent or eligible student” without an official legal document or court order.

Loudoun 4 All, a political advocacy group, said the Youngkin administration’s policy revisions refer to “parental rights” and say all children should be respected, but “doesn’t describe what that really means.” for transgender children.

The revisions refer to a “constitutional right” of teachers and students not to force them to respect the gender identity of other students. “We are calling on elected leaders to speak out against the hate and ensure that all students in Virginia are treated with respect,” Loudoun 4 All said in a press release on Saturday.

Teachers and other school officials may only refer to a student by their pronouns associated with their sex at birth. And teachers will not be required to refer to names chosen by students, regardless of the paperwork, if they feel doing so “would violate their constitutionally protected rights.”

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Read more: Youngkin’s new school guidelines restrict the rights of transgender students

The public comment period on the model policies will open this week in the Website of the Regulatory Council of Virginia.