Gender Education Approved for Fairfax Schools

The Fairfax County School Board voted Thursday night in favor of including information about gender identity and sexual orientation in an optional class.

The information will be taught in the Family Life Education program for students in grades seven through 10. That class, unlike health classes, are non-mandatory, and parents will have the ability to enroll their children in other classes instead.

Many parents and members of the LGBT community at the packed meeting said they welcomed the vote.

"We actually think the right decision was made," David Aponte said. "Parents certainly have the right to opt their kids out. We want to make sure that students who want to be educated, and need to be educated are in that right position."

Some parents said they felt the impact on their children was still unclear. They said they wanted input on what their children would learn in mandatory health classes.

The board opted in November to add protections based on sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy that covered age, race, national origin, disability and religion. In May, the board added gender identity.

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