Public Schools in D.C. Suburbs May Make ‘Gender Identity’ a Protected Class

The school board in Fairfax County, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., plans to vote May 7 on a proposal to add gender identity as a protected group to the district’s nondiscrimination policy.

School board member Ryan McElveen proposed the change based on the recent opinion issued by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring (D) which reverses a 2002 opinion and grants local school boards the authority to expand nondiscrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

“It’s critical for Fairfax County, as the largest school division in the state, to make the statement that we unequivocally protect, value and embrace all of our students and employees for who they are,” the Washington Post quoted McElveen as saying of the proposal.

However the proposal has met with opposition from Fairfax County School Board member Elizabeth Schultz, concerned parents, and some state delegates who claim that the implications of such a change have not been addressed.

“We have no presentations about what the implications are, what the actual, real-life implications are and how this translates to the way a school functions and how our facilities are set up and what this means for parental rights,” School Board member Elizabeth Schultz told Tuesday. “We’ve had no parent or public engagement of any sort, and so this is a little bit like passing a policy to find out what’s in it, and I think that’s not very good governing.”

Schultz questioned if the new policy would allow “a student of any age” with “gender confusion” to use opposite-sex bathrooms and locker rooms.