School Board Hears Local Concerns Over VDOE Policies Regarding Transgender Students | Multimedia
The Campbell County School Board discussed model policies for the treatment of transgender students at a meeting Monday night, drawing dozens of citizens who wanted to have their voices heard.
The Virginia Department of Education model policies state that students should be allowed to use bathrooms, locker rooms, restrooms, or locker rooms that match their gender identity. Transgender students can also have access to more private options if they wish. The model policies also state that school staff should use the name and gender identity requested by a student or parent, and school records should use the name and gender identity requested by the student to the extent possible. possible.
According to §22.1-23.3, which Governor Ralph Northam promulgated on March 5, 2020, all school boards must “… adopt policies which are consistent with the model policies developed by the Department of Education, but which may be more complete… ”
Ten citizens formally addressed the council at Monday’s meeting, mostly with concerns about the VDOE’s model policies for the treatment of transgender students. Several parents have said they are concerned for the safety of their children due to the new guidelines for bathrooms and changing rooms. Heavy applause erupted from the crowd after several speakers.
Some called the new rules excessive or said they were inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible. Some commented on critical race theory as well, but the weight of the conversation focused on VDOE’s model policies.
After the public comment period ended, Board Chairman David Phillips responded to the concerns raised.
“I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight and sharing your concerns,” he said. “Please know that Campbell County schools treat all students with respect and do not tolerate discrimination. The Campbell County school system has not adopted the specific model policies developed by the Virginia Department of Education for the treatment of transgender students. Our policies comply with the law. We will continue to work with students and families on an individual basis to meet their needs. Campbell County schools do not teach and we do not plan to adopt a critical running program. “
Phillips also said the council hopes masks will not be mandatory in the next school year and that more advice will be available by the end of July.
Shortly after the board voted to approve various policy revisions, some of which appeared to relate to 22.1-23.3, or the law requiring school boards statewide to adhere to the VDOE model policies.
School officials argue that the school board did not adopt the VDOE model policies but is in compliance with state law. Current plans are for the school system to work with students on issues regarding model policies on a case-by-case basis.
At the end of the meeting, someone at the back of the room interrupted normal procedures to ask if the board would make a statement rejecting the model policies.
“You wouldn’t all want to reject this mandate, not having accepted it,” they said. “I think most citizens, that’s what we’re asking for.”
Someone else at the meeting added “like Pittsylvania,” referring to a decision by the Pittsylvania County School Board to pass a motion, which board members recognized as technically illegal, rejecting the model policies from VDOE, according to a Chatham Star-Tribune article from July 14.
Phillips said the topic could potentially be put on a future agenda before the meeting adjourns.