Some Fairfax Co. Parents Protesting Vote on Transgender Students

The vote was last night, but some Fairfax County parents say their campaign is not over.

The Fairfax County school board voted Thursday night to add transgender people to the district's anti-discrimination policy. That policy already protects employees and students from discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, national origin and sexual orientation.

The vote came after testimony from an equal number of parents on each side of the issue -- but in a room that was packed with parents who opposed it.

Friday, some of the parents who attended the meeting said they felt their concerns had not been heard, especially because the board took the vote before it had decided policies for bathrooms and locker rooms.

Arlinda Hanna, a Fairfax County parent, said she is still angry and upset.

"Right there in front of us were our representatives that were voted by our people," Hanna said. "And they completely shut the doors on us."

One board member voted against the measure, wanting to delay it instead: Elizabeth Schultz.

"The question is, what message do we send parents?" Schultz said. "That we want your taxpayer dollars, we want you to participate in the PTA, we want you to participate in fundraisers, we want you to volunteer in the schools -- but then we want you to go away?"

She said she has gotten many emails from parents thanking her for her stand.

But Ryan McElveen, the board member who proposed adding transgender students to the anti-discrimination policy, said the crowd present last night doesn't reflect his constituency.

"There was a lot of negative energy in that room, but I will say that ... the response I have gotten is very positive, especially from students," he said.

Hanna said she's left wondering if she will leave Fairfax altogether.

"I've never left this county, and I have never wanted to, until last night," she said.

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