Largest Virginia School District Defies Gov. Youngkin’s Guidance On Bathrooms, Pronouns

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Virginia’s largest school district announced Tuesday that it will be defying guidance from Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration that requires students to use bathrooms on the basis of biological sex, rather than gender identity, according to a press release.

The Virginia Department of Education released a final version of its model policies for the state’s public schools in July that requires teachers to use a student’s biological name and pronouns unless given written permission by a parent to use something else. Fairfax County Public Schools said it does not plan to adopt the state guidance after determining that the district policies are in line with federal and state anti-discrimination laws, according to a press release. (RELATED: ‘Protect Trans Rights’: Two Arrested While Protesting Proposed School Policy To Keep Boys Out Of Girls’ Bathrooms)

“I’d like to thank the many of you who have expressed your concern to me about the Virginia Department of Education’s new model policies regarding the treatment of transgender and gender-expansive students in public schools, and how they would impact our current guidelines for establishing a safe, supportive, welcoming and inclusive school environment for all students, including our gender-expansive and transgender students,” Michelle Reid, Fairfax County Public Schools superintendent wrote in the press release. “We have concluded our detailed legal review and determined that our current Fairfax County Public School policies are consistent with federal and state anti-discrimination laws as required by the new model policies.”

Fairfax County Public Schools will continue to call students by their chosen names and pronouns, the press release stated. Bathrooms, locker rooms and field trips will remain separated on the basis of gender identity rather than biological sex.

Youngkin’s finalized policies also require school districts to notify parents of any bullying incidents in the school.

“The law requires the Virginia Department of Education to provide model policies and requires school boards to adopt policies consistent with those provided by the Department,” Macaulay Porter, Youngkin’s spokeswoman told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The Fairfax County Public Schools policies diverge from VDOE model policy guidance and perpetuate a false notion that FCPS knows what’s better for a child than a child’s parent. The Fairfax County school board is expected to follow the law.”

Amy Grady, who is running as an independent for a seat in the West Virginia state Senate, teaches in her classroom at Leon Elementary October 18, 2018 in Leon, West Virginia. - Teachers like Amy Grady successfully went on strike this year across West Virginia demanding better health care and higher pay, and now she hopes to give state legislators a lesson, by winning a state senate seat. With labor activism catching fire and spreading to multiple US states, a record number of teachers -- 1,455 current and former educators, according to the National Education Association -- are running for office in the November 6 midterm elections. (Photo by MICHAEL MATHES / AFP) / With AFP Story by Michael MATHES: From picket lines to polls, US teachers eye political office (Photo credit should read MICHAEL MATHES/AFP via Getty Images)

Amy Grady, who is running as an independent for a seat in the West Virginia state Senate, teaches in her classroom at Leon Elementary October 18, 2018 in Leon, West Virginia. (Photo credit MICHAEL MATHES/AFP via Getty Images)

Since the policies were released, several school districts within the state have chosen to reject the guidance, though school boards must adopt resolutions which align with the guidance; Alexandria City Public School is among the districts that will not be adopting policies that align with the guidance. The Virginia High School League, the state authority on high school sports, announced that their organization would not be adopting the guidance that requires sports to be separated on the basis of biological sex rather than gender identity.

“We will continue to consider feedback from everyone on Team FCPS [Fairfax County Public Schools] – our students, staff, families and community, in order to best support our students and staff while working with parents and caregivers,” Reid said in the press release. “We will continue to make every effort to encourage and support communication between students and parents/caregivers.”

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