Loudoun County Public Schools passes policy regarding rights of transgender students

Virginia

ASHBURN, Va. (WDVM) — Loudoun County Public Schools passed proposed policy 8040, allowing transgender students more rights in schools, 7 to 2 in a meeting Wednesday evening.

Brenda Sheridan, Loudoun County School Board Chair, Sterling District, hosted the vote for policy 8040.

“All in favor of policy 8040, rights of transgender and gender-expansive students, as amended please raise your hand and say I,” said Sheridan. “All those opposed, please raise your hand and say nay. That motion will carry. 7-2. With Beatty and morse opposed. Thank you, we’ve passed policy 8040 as amended.”

One member Jeff Morse argued that today’s classroom couldn’t be compared to the past.

“From years past, compared to comparing that to today’s classroom and today’s workforce is like comparing technology of 1980 to today’s technology, our teachers, administrators and counselors are well trained to identify issues and provide emotional support to students,” said Morse.

While other members like Ian Serotkin rebutted Morse’s comment on current transgender students’ experiences in schools.

“You seem to imply that bullying or discrimination against LGBTQ students in LCPS is a thing of the past and doesn’t happen today,” said Serotkin. “If you believe that I’d encourage you to speak to more of our gay and transgender students.”

Before the final vote, Board Chair Brenda Sheridan expressed her standpoint on draft policy 8040.

“To ensure that all of our LGBTQ students are respected in our buildings and I don’t believe without policy that that will happen,” said Sheridan. “We have to have to have something to enforce the rules. I fully support policy 8040 as amended this evening.”

The last Loudoun County School Board meeting had to be canceled ending in one arrested.

On Tuesday the board delayed the vote once more. Some parents, students and staff were in support of this policy, like Alex Bennett, an LCPS teacher.

“Up to the child how the student wants to be identified. It is their choice, as educators, parents and elected officials,” said Bennett. “Our job is to protect that identity, even when society does not agree.”

Chris Tuck, Vice President of Equality Loudoun, commends LCPS for its tireless effort for the equity of its students.

“More importantly, policy 8040 is the regulation that is sorely needed to protect the transgender and nonbinary students of our counties,” said Tuck. “These students deserve our respect and our admiration for their bravery and navigating these challenges, at a complex time.”

Others, such as LCPS parent Megan Jinkins, strongly opposed the draft policy.

“If passed, policy 8040 would allow boys and adult LCPS male staff members to walk around naked in the girl’s locker rooms; this is sick,” said Jinkins. “If the thought of that makes you uncomfortable. It also makes my 12-year-old daughter uncomfortable.”

Gary Higgins, a Loudoun County resident and grandfather of students in the county, refers to the biology argument.

“I have four grandsons in the county currently,” said Higgins. “You all normally like to talk about following the science so I thought I’d share a little biology with you today. There are two chromosomes, to determine a person’s sex and gender. They are the x and y chromosomes if you have two x’s, you are a female. If you have an x and a y, you are a man.”

Tuesday’s board meeting had a four-hour public comment session from 150 speakers, and the board decided to recess until 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday due to the time it would take to reset the room for public viewing.

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