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School Divisions Closely Watching Stafford County Policy Decision


School divisions across Virginia are in the midst of a transformation, one that may have profound consequences for transgender students.

It all started with an active shooter drill in Stafford County this fall. Students were supposed to head to the locker rooms for safety. But school administrators were not sure about what to do with a transgender student. That led the School Board to consider a measure to make it unambiguously clear — students belong in the locker rooms of the genders they identify with.

LGBT activist Robert Rigby says school divisions across Virginia are looking to Stafford because this would be the first school board in Virginia to take this kind of action.

“Being called by the pronouns that fit their gender identity, by being able to use the facilities that fit their gender identity. It’s essential. It’s essential to be treated the way you are in school.”

Victoria Cobb at the Family Foundation disagrees.

“We can teach our children to become passionate and tolerant towards one another without forcing young children to be in vulnerable interactions with the opposite sex students in restrooms and locker rooms.”

The Stafford School Board is expected to vote in late January or early February, just as the issue is receiving heightened attention across Virginia. Earlier this month, a teacher in West Point was fired for refusing to use the gender pronouns a student there identified with.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.