LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA — (08-18-21) — The school board in Loudoun County, Virginia, sparked outrage on Wednesday when they voted to adopt a hotly contested policy requiring teachers to address students by their preferred gender names and pronouns.

Board members Jeffrey Morse and John Beatty voted against the proposal. “It’s anti-family, anti-privacy, anti-teacher,” said Morse.

The new LGBTQ inclusivity policy which passed by a vote of 7-2, also ensures access for transgender students to school facilities and programs. The policy also mandates access for students to restrooms and locker rooms that “correspond to their consistently asserted gender identity.”

The Loudoun County School District said…”The policy abides by a state law passed last year that requires school boards adopt a policy protecting the rights of transgender students The school system’s “number one priority is to foster the success of all students and ensure they feel safe, secure, accepted and ready to learn at school,” said the district.

According to the policy provided by the district, “Staff or students who intentionally and persistently refuse to respect a student’s gender identity by using the wrong name and gender pronoun are in violation of this policy.”

Transgender and gender-expansive students can participate in interscholastic, co-curricular, and extra-curricular programs consistent with the student’s gender identity, the policy says.

Mental health professionals “shall complete training on topics relating to LGBTQ+ students, including procedures for preventing and responding to bullying, harassment and discrimination based on gender identity/expression,” the policy states.

The school board also set a five-year deadline to modify and renovate all school restrooms to add more privacy and individual spaces.

Student Nick Gothard told NBC Washington…The policy is about inclusivity and was “a breath of fresh air. It’s a signal to all the trans and LGBTQ students in Loudoun that they’re welcomed here, that they’re loved here and that they’re protected here,” said Gothard.

Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer

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