Fairfax School Board Defies Virginia’s Transgender Policy

After leaking its closed-door decision to transgender advocates, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) announced on August 15 that it would ignore the Virginia Board of Education’s recently issued transgender policy.

The decision was revealed in a community letter from the FCPS Superintendent, which is HERE.

Not a word or comma in FCPS’ existing policy will be changed because, according to the Superintendent, it is fully consistent with federal and state law.  This claim is at odds with express provisions of Virginia statutes.  It is the existing policy that violates Virginia law, not the Department of Education’s policy, as will be shown in a subsequent post on this site.

This article will focus on the Superintendent’s erroneous assertions that the current policy establishes “a safe, supportive, welcoming, and inclusive school environment for all students,” and her claim that the policy protects the rights and interests of parents.

Let’s examine the particulars:

  • The FCPS policy, which can be seen HERE, provides that a transgender student has an absolute right to use the locker rooms and restrooms of his or her choice.  Thus, if a biological male says he is female, he can undress and shower in the girls’ locker room.  If there are twenty girls in a class or activity with him, and if they object on privacy grounds, each of them must seek out an alternative place to shower and change (or perhaps wait until the transgender student has finished using the facility).  The burden and inconvenience of finding arrangements that protect their privacy is entirely on the twenty, while the one is entitled to total freedom and priority.  Most fair-minded people would say you aren’t providing a safe, supportive, welcoming and inclusive environment for all students if you make the legitimate interests of the vast majority subservient to the desires of a small minority, but this is the current administration’s notion of fairness.
  • Similarly, if an instructional or extra-curricular event requires overnight accommodations for students, the FCPS policy provides that a biological male who claims to be female has a right to be roomed with a female student.  The policy doesn’t provide that the female will be given prior notice and/or an opportunity to refuse.  Nor does it provide that the girl’s parents will be notified so that they can intervene.  Again, the desires of the tiny minority prevail over the rights of everyone else.
  • The FCPS policy provides that transgender students have the right to participate in school-sponsored activities and intramural sports in accordance with their newly-chosen gender.  Thus, biological males have a right to play on, e.g., girls’ intramural volleyball or basketball teams.  As everyone knows, this alleged “right” is hotly contested throughout the country.  Contrary to FCPS’ assertions, it is not mandated by federal or state law, and, indeed, it undercuts statutes and policies whose purpose is to protect women’s separate sporting opportunities
  • The FCPS policy states that if a student tells a school employee that he or she is questioning his or her gender but is reluctant to discuss the issue with his or her parents, FCPS will keep the matter from the parents.  Instead, the school will convene a confidential, multidisciplinary “support team.”  The team’s stated purposes don’t include probing into the causes of the gender dysphoria or questioning whether the feelings are permanent or transitory; rather, the teams are there to provide support for the student’s feelings, including creation of “a timeline to support student transition from one gender to another, if applicable.”  The Superintendent’s letter states that “supporting our students and working with parents are not mutually exclusive; we already do both and will continue to do so.”  What the letter doesn’t say is that this only occurs if the student (perhaps a pre-adolescent) authorizes FCPS to get the parents involved.  And, under the current policy, even if the parents have been notified, FCPS reserves the Big Brother right to control the “support team’s” activities.
  • The FCPS policy permits students to change their names at will (e.g., from Sam to Sally, QueenB, or Quintessence ), as well as their pronouns (from he/him to she/her, their, xi, leaf, or, presumably, “your majesty”), and this information will be kept from parents unless the student consents.  Transgender advocates are constantly evolving their desired changes to English usage, and trying to make it unlawful not to comply.  FCPS policy has caved in to these demands, requiring school personnel and students to use a student’s chosen names and pronouns.  Willful noncompliance can be severely punished.  For example if a student, when referring to another whose former name was Sally, refuses to say “QueenB left their backpack in the room,” this could be viewed as malicious bullying.

These policies are definitely not safe, supporting, welcoming and inclusive for all students.  They cater to the demands of a few, while trampling on the rights of other students and of families.  No one would have contemplated adopting these policies a few years ago, but “transgender rights” have become the cause de jour of some on the ideological left.  The current Fairfax County School Board is composed almost entirely of  “social justice” warriors of this ideological bent, so, naturally, they are digging in their heels to oppose Virginia law and education policies that are inconsistent with their views.  Nothing will dissuade them.  The only remedy is to elect a very different School Board in November, or to have the School Board’s intransigence challenged in court.

The next post on this site will examine the School Board’s claim that its current policy is required by state and federal law.

If you believe this article is informative and of interest, please share it with others, and encourage them to register to receive notices of future postings on this site.


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  1. Peggy Humphreys on August 16, 2023 at 11:48 pm

    Absolute insanity. The parents in Fairfax County are very fortunate to have you continuing to stay abreast of what is really happening within the school board. It is hard to believe that any fair minded individual would support the idea that any of what the school board proposes is acceptable.

    • Mark Spooner on August 17, 2023 at 1:53 am

      Peggy: Thanks for your comment.

      • Richard Porter on August 17, 2023 at 8:08 am

        Excellent as always, Mark. I think this “ parental rights “ issue and the dismal performance of FCPS schools, as reflected in the declining test scores ,should be the defining issue in all school board campaigns.

        • Mark Spooner on August 17, 2023 at 8:38 am

          I totally agree.

  2. Christine on August 17, 2023 at 7:01 am

    Thanks Mark! This comes as no surprise really. I look forward to your next post regarding School Board’s claim that its current policy is required by state and federal law. This is where the rubber meets the road so to speak!

  3. Karen Quiner on August 17, 2023 at 8:15 am

    The “tyranny of the minority” on full display in our world today..

    • Mark Spooner on August 17, 2023 at 8:37 am

      Karen: That’s an excellent summation of what’s happening.

  4. Karen Quiner on August 17, 2023 at 10:48 am

    This is truly scary stuff. Someday (hopefully soon), we will look back on what we have allowed to happen to our kids and wonder how it was allowed. I heard someone say that this reminds them of lobotomies and how they tried to treat a psychological problem with surgery.

    I am afraid it is all going to get worse before it gets better and in the meantime, these poor kids are going to be damaged by it for the rest of their lives.

    • Mark Spooner on August 17, 2023 at 12:07 pm

      Well said. The new model policy is aimed at countering the extreme, unfair, discriminatory policies that have been adopted, but FCPS and some other jurisdictions are intent on defying the law. The question now is whether the Youngkin administration will take action to enforce its policy. I will address this issue in my next post.

  5. J on August 17, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Mark: Consider sending this column to all non-incumbent school board candidates.

    • Mark Spooner on August 17, 2023 at 12:26 pm

      Jeffrey: Thanks. It is being sent to all the Republican-endorsed candidates.

  6. Steve Quiner on August 17, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    Sick and vile. The American public education system is a huge monopoly, maybe the biggest monopoly in the world. This illustrates the danger of monopolies.

    School Choice, so parents are “Free to Choose “

    • Donna Casey on August 21, 2023 at 4:17 pm

      Mark, yours is the most clear & correct explanation of this issue that I have read to date. That the School Board & Superintendent are attempting to force these policies on the disagreeing majority of citizens is just wrong!

      • Mark Spooner on August 21, 2023 at 4:53 pm

        Donna: Thanks for your comment.

  7. Cathy Ruse on August 22, 2023 at 10:07 pm

    Mark, thank you! Very helpful summary.