Loudoun County School Board Approves Transgender Policy


The Loudoun County School Board voted 7-2 to approve a transgender policy on Wednesday evening, in the second day of a two-part meeting. A public hearing was held Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, many board members emphasized the significant amount of time at the state and local level dedicated to developing the policy in response to Virginia law. Board member Jeff Morse spoke at length in opposition to the policy. He and member John Beatty voted against the policy and tried to pass a motion to send the policy back to committee for more consideration.

Morse argued that although bullying of transgender students is a problem, anti-bullying policies have already been enacted that will address that problem. He said it would be divisive and criticized a part of the policy that gives the school discretion about notifying parents if a child is transgender.

“The policy is not needed. The policy does not solve the issues it is purported to solve. The policy has forced our focus out of education, and I will not support it,” Morse said.

Virginia law requires passage of a transgender policy consistent with the Virginia Department of Education’s model policies.

The board amended its proposed policy to require all staff to take training on LGBTQ+ students.

Board Chair Brenda Sheridan explained, “I also believe and feel that many people have demonstrated a lack of understanding regarding our trans students, not just community members, but all of them. Many of our community members have a lack of understanding, and I want to ensure that all of our transgender students will be respected and affirmed when interacting with any of our staff in Loudoun County Public Schools.”

Speaking to the policy as a whole, member Atoosa Reaser said, “Providing a safe and inclusive learning environment is the first step to a child being able to learn. They have to feel safe and welcome in order to be able reach their full potential and give back to our community when they’re done here at LCPS.

“It’s not about adults, it’s about the children. You saw the comments that we have been seeing over a period of months that really have divided the county, which shouldn’t be,” board member Harris Mehadavi said. “As an elected school board member I’m not here to define what the students gender are. I’m here to make sure that all students provide and get a safe space to learn.”

On Tuesday evening, the public hearing was held, but under new rules that were introduced after a raucous June school board meeting. Public speakers were limited to two minutes, and only 20 people were allowed into the building, with one person at-a-time allowed to enter the board room to speak. Loudoun activist Ian Prior tweeted a picture of members of the public standing outside in heavy rain. Aliscia Andrews tweeted that parents were allowed into an area between the double outside building doors.

At the Wednesday meeting up to 223 members were allowed inside, but Fox7 News reported that only a few people were present.

On Tuesday, LCPS watchdog Julie Sisson reported on Facebook that 51 virtual speakers and 119 in-person speakers were scheduled, although she said there were a lot of no-shows.

LCPS teacher Laura Morris quit during her two minutes of public comment.

Morris said she had been a teacher at LCPS for five years.

“This year I have the privilege to follow my amazing fourth-graders up to fifth, and I have been excited about this all summer. On the other hand, this summer I have struggled with the idea of returning to school knowing that I’ll be working yet again with a school division that despite its shiny tech and flashy salary promotes political ideologies that do not square with who I am as a believer in Christ,” Morris said.

She said the limitation on who could enter the building and official warnings to LCPS to not express a dissenting opinion even privately demonstrated a lack of consideration for concerned citizens. She also cited a LCPS form that she said staff were told to use to report colleagues who spoke against controversial policies. She said that equity training given to staff said white Christian women had too much power in the schools.

“Clearly you’ve made your point. You no longer value me or many other teachers you’ve employed in this county. So since my contract outlines the power that you have over my employment in [LCPS], I thought it necessary to resign in front of you. School board, I quit,” she said, breaking into tears.

Her time expired and her microphone was muted.

On Wednesday, Equality Loudoun said in a Twitter statement, “We appreciate our School Board for taking this courageous and informed step forward for our trans and gender-expansive students. We support their continued efforts to fight for equity and equality. It is difficult to express the gratitude our community feels for this decision.

Equality Loudoun President Cris Candice Tuck said, “To the students who will be returning to school with these protections in place, they can finally breathe a sigh of relief and feel safe focusing on their education.

The Family Foundation was present at a rally outside the Tuesday meeting, alongside other organizations.

“The battle you have been fighting here in Loudoun County has become the epicenter of a much larger battle that is happening for the health, safety and wellbeing of our children, not just across Virginia, but nationwide,” Family Foundation president Victoria Cobb said in a speech. “I believe it will be you that will be the imprint on history in the moment.”

She said, “We are united in our concern as parents for the children of Loudoun County, Virginia and across the nation.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Loudoun County School Board Meeting” by WUSA9.








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One Thought to “Loudoun County School Board Approves Transgender Policy”

  1. Noal Sartain

    If high school athletes can pick the gender they identify with, then why can’t they pick the weight they identify with? Both involve denying an objective physical state of being. If high school females must compete against males, then why not allow 200 pound wrestlers to compete against 100 pound wrestlers? Advocate for it in the name of “anti-body shaming.”