The Virginia Beach School Board approved Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s gender transition notification policy Tuesday after being hit with a lawsuit from parents, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
In August, the board voted on the policy but was deadlocked with five votes in favor and five against, effectively stalling the proposal, which prompted several parents to file a lawsuit in September demanding the district protect parental rights. The board took up the issue again this week, however, and voted 9 to 1 in favor of adopting Youngkin’s policy, with one member abstaining, according to The Virginian-Pilot. (RELATED: School District Votes Against Implementing Youngkin’s Parental Rights Policy)
The proposed policy requires the district to inform parents if their child expresses a different gender identity than their biological sex. The policy also allows parents to request a single-sex bathroom for their child if they have concerns regarding the “privacy and safety” of their student.
Jessica Owens, the board member who voted against the policy, said that she was concerned about offending students by addressing them against their wishes, according to 13 News Now, a local media outlet.
“My sticking point being the issue of not being able to address students in the manner that they would like to be addressed,” Owens said.
Prior to the vote, the board approved an amendment to the policy that requires students to attend athletic activities in line with their sex, according to The Virginia Pilot. Other districts had voted against the policy, with one arguing that previous versions of the policy satisfied the needs of the district and that it was “in the best interest of the county” to vote no.
Some community members who spoke at the meeting before the vote asked the board to “do the right thing” and reject the proposal to create a “safe space” for LGBTQ students, according to 13 News Now. Others demanded the board members “stop with the virtue signaling” and the “antics.”
Dr. Don Robertson, VBSD acting superintendent, said that the board has a “responsibility” to address these issues, according to 13 News Now.
“We have a collective responsibility to address topics, such as the treatment of transgender students, with necessary compassion and respect for all students,” he said. “The Department of Education also acknowledges the rights of parents to exercise their fundamental rights, protected by the 14th Amendment.”
The lawsuit filed last month argued that the board needed to adopt the policy to protect the rights of parents who do not want their child to be socially transitioned without their consent.
A VBSD spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the policy will go into effect on Nov. 8 and said that the board’s decision was not impacted by the lawsuit.
“The board’s decision to approve regulations consistent with the Governor’s Model Policies was not related to an impending lawsuit,” the spokesperson said. “The VBCPS School Board grappled with the Model Policies since their approval in mid-July, working diligently to reach consensus on how to best meet the unique needs of our community while blending the policy and regulation of VBCPS to be consistent with the Governor’s Model Policies.”
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