U.S./World: Virginia school board restricts restroom use for transgender elementary student

Beyond the Carolinas

HARTWOOD, Va. — A Virginia school board has voted to require transgender students to use a single stall restroom or a restroom of the student’s biological sex.

The Stafford County School Board voted 6-0 during the week of March 29 in favor of the policy in response to a Hartwood Elementary School transgender student who had been allowed to use the restroom and locker room aligned with the gender they identified with.

Support for changing the policy to isolate the trans student was in full force. As many as 15 parents spoke out against Hartwood’s trans-friendly restroom policy in what was described as a “packed meeting,” reported the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star.

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One parent warned the school board of “throwing away the rights of many children for the wants of some confused children.”

The board chamber was nearly empty when the vote was taken, but earlier in the evening, the room was packed, and 20 speakers addressed the board — including a man who said he is the transgender student’s father.

“I have many of the exact same beliefs that many of you do,” Jonathon Adams said to those who opposed the school system’s initial action. “I was astonished. And then I watched my little girl grow up. I’m very proud to have a special little girl. I don’t mean just on the outside.”

Superintendent Bruce Benson said during the meeting, “The issue isn’t as clear as anyone would like it to be, and I’m hoping at some point that we get some direction either from our legislators in Virginia or from VSBA [Virginia School Boards Association].”

But LGBTQ advocates say the change in policy is not only wrong for the child, it’s against federal law.

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“Putting policies in place to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity is not only the right thing to do; it is also what schools should do in order to comply with Title IX,” said James Parrish, executive director for Equality Virginia.

“Fear and lack of understanding took the limelight” said Parrish, referencing the views expressed by most speakers at the March 31 meeting. : :

— Brad Kutner, GayRVA.com via LGBTQ Nation (lgbtqnation.com), a qnotes media partner

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LGBTQ Nation (lgbtqnation.com) is the nation’s most followed LGBT news magazine, reporting news and commentary on topics of interest within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. Staff reports from LGBTQ Nation are reprinted by permission. qnotes and LGBTQ Nation are media partners.