On Sept 14th, the VB School Board will vote on a policy that could be a violation of state law and the constitution. The actual policy up for a vote can be found here. Please review the flyer created by some concerned parents that details how you can have your voice heard. Please email the board, sign up to speak and attend the rally.
First, there are some items in the VDOE model policy that I support, such as anti-bullying/anti-harassment. However, we have had those policies in place in Va Beach for a while.
Here are some details of concerns with the proposed policy:
Violation of Religious Liberty:
The School Board elected member's oath of office is to uphold the US and Va constitutions
Article 1 Sec 16 VA Constitution Bill of Rights:
No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place or ministry whatsoever…. Nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.
1st Amendment to the US Constitution established the The Free Exercise Clause which gives us the right to worship or not as we choose. The government can't penalize anyone because of their religious beliefs.
The proposed policy/regulation states:
Violation of Parental Rights
Virginia § 1-240.1: Rights of parents. A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent's child.
B. Student name and gender pronouns
1. In accordance with this subsection, students will be allowed to use a name and
gender pronoun that reflects their gender identity without substantiating evidence. (no parental requirement of approval or notification)
2. At the written request of the student or parent/legal guardian of a minor student,
use the name and pronoun that corresponds to the student’s or parent/legal
guardian’s request. The school administration where the student attends school
may request that the request be made in writing and signed by the student or
parent/legal guardian of a minor student.
5. In the situation when parents/legal guardians of minor students (under 18 years of
age) do not agree with the minor student’s request to adopt a new name and/or
pronoun, the student and parent/legal guardian will work with school
administrators to determine how to address the student’s needs. The safety and
welfare as well as the student’s access to educational services and opportunities
should serve as the primary focus. (if a parent doesn’t agree, how will the school force them to “work with the school”?)
1. Access to all facilities (bathrooms/locker rooms) that correspond to a student's gender identity shall be available to all students.
2. Overnight trips: Students may choose the rooming, bathing, changing facilities that align with the student's gender identity. Students should not be placed into single occupancy accommodations not required for other students. (males and females could be rooming with one another on overnight field trips.)