"The school board received opinions from many citizens tonight and we had the opportunity to discuss with them. We decided not to take any action against the currently proposed transgender policy. That is, it is not valid, "said Victoria Proffitt, chairwoman of the Chesapeake Board of Education.
Under guidance from the Virginia Department of Education, nonbinary and transgender students can play on gender-specific sports teams or use restrooms and other facilities that correspond to the identity of their choice rather than their birth gender. The school district's proposed policies, an adaptation of the state's, did not reach a board vote as only board member Patricia King moved to consider them, without receiving a second.
Chesapeake now joins the Newport News school board in choosing not to implement the state's model policies, but that city's board members have now called a special meeting to reconsider the vote.
Multiple individuals appeared before the board to speak against the state's guidance, attacking the idea for "gutting parental control," per wavy.com.
"When my children are at school, they are students and not the school's children. My parental authority doesn't end in the parking lot," one mother speaking against the policy told the board.
Virginia Department of Education Superintendent James Lane said the state won't penalize districts who fail to implement the policy but said they face pressure from families of students who identify as transgender, reports wric.com.
"Non-compliance will be very costly for school boards if they are sued for discriminating against transgender students," said Eden Heilman, an attorney with the ACLU of Virginia
King responded to the board's decision in a statement after the meeting. "Transgenders are not pedophiles, they are not sexual predators; they are just people who want to live their lives the way they want to live them and they have every right to do that. I don't think [transgender students] should be fearful because we will protect all our children but I think the school board let them down."
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