A Virginia public school district is weighing new rules that could suspend or expel students who “maliciously” misgender or “deadname” their transgender peers, according to a draft of the guidelines.
Fairfax County Public Schools Students Rights and Responsibilities’ (SRR) handbook is under review by the district’s school board. An updated version makes “hate speech,” “deadnaming,” and “misgendering” peers a suspendible offense.
The updated SRR states that hate speech, misgendering, and deadnaming “allows for a suspension up to 5 days if frequency and intensity are present.”
Announcements from the school district on updating the SRR do not refer to adding language about “hate speech” or transgender naming. However, the updated version states that board members “added language regarding gender identification and immigration status.”
Some parents told the Daily Caller that Fairfax County Public Schools is targeting religious students by threat of “coercion and intimidation.”
Former Fairfax County educator and mother Debra Tisler told the Daily Caller that this is yet another example of the district “manipulating people.” Tisler said the speech code violates the religious beliefs of many students and is “dangerous” because it puts such students at a disadvantage.
“What they’re doing is harmful,” Tisler said. “Any person that goes against the narrative of the school board is going to be [punished]. … I believe that’s why they left [the language] so vague.”
Tisler argued that if students cannot be compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance — as stated in the updated SRR — then they should not be compelled to call someone by their preferred pronouns. Tisler, and several other parents who did not wish to be publicly named, called for the district to include a parent opt-out for the updated speech codes.
Stacy Langton, another Fairfax County mother who lit up the district over its inclusion of pornographic books in school libraries, told the Daily Caller that students are at the whims of individual board members to determine what is considered “malicious.”
The mother pointed to an example in a neighboring school district wherein teacher Byron “Tanner” Cross was placed on administrative leave for refusing to use transgender preferred pronouns. Langton claimed that students may see similar outcomes if the policy passes. (RELATED: Parents Blast School For Hosting Drag Show Behind Their Backs)
Langton argued that adherence to religious beliefs should not be considered “malicious.” She dubbed the policy “speech policing,” and argued that the district is “punishing” students “for reality.” Langton also said that the burden falls on parents to file a lawsuit against the district if they feel the policy is unjust.
“It doesn’t really matter what the parents have to say,” Langton said. “We’re all expected to comply.”
Fairfax County Public Schools and Fairfax County School Board did not respond to the Daily Caller’s request for comment.