A group of Loudoun County teachers announced Tuesday that they intend to sue the school district over a measure approved in August which deals with the treatment of transgender students.
The teachers made the announcement as they and hundreds of protesters rallied before the evening's school board meeting. The meeting covered topics including the shortage of bus drivers plaguing the county and teachers' salaries, and was not about the approved policy.
"Forcing these radical ideologies under the guise of policies that harm students has to stop," teacher Monica Gill said outside the school board's headquarters. "They are acting like the debate is already over. They've chosen one side in this debate. They have specifically decided that teachers have to use pronouns that students specify without any kind of substantiating evidence."
Speakers also accused the school system of teaching critical race theory, which seeks to examine the intersection of race and U.S. law and is generally taught at the graduate school level and above. The Loudoun County school superintendent has repeatedly said is not part of the curriculum.
The school board approved policy 8040 on Aug. 11. It requires all Loudoun County Public Schools staff to undergo inclusivity training, instructs staff to use students' chosen names and pronouns, and allows students to use the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity, among other policies.
The policy became national news after elementary school gym teacher Tanner Cross testified in May that he would not follow it because he believed it would harm children and violate his religious beliefs.
Heated public meetings preceded the policy's approval, including some that saw a teacher quit and a man arrested.
The board approved the policy in a 7-2 vote and it took effect immediately.
Here Are the Main Points of the Policy on the Treatment of Transgender Students
- Staff should allow transgender and gender-expansive students to “use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their consistently asserted gender identity.” Staff should use students’ names and pronouns. “Staff or students who intentionally and persistently refuse to respect a student’s gender identity by using the wrong name and gender pronoun are in violation of this policy.”
- Staff should allow transgender and gender-expansive students to participate in “interscholastic, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities … in a manner consistent with the student’s gender identity.”
- Students should be allowed to use the restrooms and locker rooms that “correspond to their consistently asserted gender identity.” Staff should “take steps to designate gender-inclusive or single-user restrooms commensurate with the size of the school.”
- “All school mental health professionals shall complete training on topics relating to LGBTQ+ students, including procedures for preventing and responding to bullying, harassment and discrimination based on gender identity/expression.”
- “The Superintendent is authorized to develop implementing regulations and school procedures to ensure consistency in practices.”