Home GLBT Video: Heated Debate Over Transgender Rights in Fairfax County Public Schools

Video: Heated Debate Over Transgender Rights in Fairfax County Public Schools


UPDATE: See full video of last night’s Fairfax County Public Schools meeting below. Also, superb job by Joshua Israel (former head of the Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club) a little while ago in Fairfax, especially given that the audience is filled with people who are clearly, vehemently opposed to this policy change. By the way, prior to Joshua Israel, a speaker actually claimed that this nondiscrimination ordinance could result in an increased suicide rate among transgender kids, as well more sex crimes by “predators.” These people have wayyyyy too much time on their hands, and clearly not enough access to accurate information, let’s just leave it at that.

UPDATE 6 am Friday: Joshua Israel writes on his Facebook page: “Very very proud to say that 10 of Fairfax’s 12 school board members voted tonight to add gender identity to the FCPS non-discrimination policy. Proud to say that I made it through my speech in support without breaking down, even though the room was mostly filled with screaming, angry, anti-LGBT activists.”

Also, House of Delegates Democratic candidate Joana Garcia writes: “Appalling behavior at the school board meeting tonight. From the woman out in the lobby who mumbled under her breath for the mom to ‘take your screaming kid outside why don’t ya’ to another who said ‘why not’ to the statement by a board member ‘we should not discriminate against anyone’. At least 5 people removed from the meeting due to disruptive behavior.”

Catherine Read writes: “People turned their backs on Ted Velkoff when he quoted scripture. Because . . . you know . . . that’s would Jesus would do. That woman in black commented and yelled throughout the meeting. Disrepectuful, ugly . . . this was like sitting with the extras from the movie ’42.'”

Sen. Adam Ebbin writes: “Hats off to Josh Israel for reasoned and eloquent testimony in support of Fairfax County Schools’ new policy against discrimination based on gender identity!”

UPDATE 9:07 pm: John Riley tweets, “Schultz motion to postpone fails 2-10.” Also: “McElveen: misinformation is that this policy will not change practices in #FCPS”; “Anti-side has older white men walking up and down aisles. Making hand signals to opponents in crowd. Lots of outbursts”; “Crowd boos McElveen for calling transgender rights ‘civil rights struggle of our generation.'”; “Moon: school administrators will meet with people who claim to be transgender and determine if genuine. Change not putting anyone at risk;” “McLaughlin decries misinformation. As of today, you thought your children were safe. They are and still will be. Garza already practicing it.”

FCPS Student Rep Harris LaTeef writes: “Thank you to the Fairfax County School Board for staying calm and professional even when others certainly were not this evening. I thank you and history will thank you.”

UPDATE 8:17 pm: Jarrod Nagurka tweets, “Shameful. Dan Stork just seconded motion to postpone inclusion of gender identity in Fairfax nondiscrimination policy.”

UPDATE 8:15 pm: John Riley of Metro Weekly magazine tweets: “Fredy Burgos, who opposed @EFillerCorn last election, says policy will undermine 1st Amendment rights of anti-trans students…Burgos decries heavy-handed federal government interfering in local schools. Talking about genital mutilation, HIV rates…Hispanics and blacks will be worst affected by policy. B/C they are largely Christians, Burgos calls #Policy1450 ‘racist.’ Standing ovation.”

UPDATE 8:06 pm: Democratic campaign manager Jarrod Nagurka, who is at the meeting, just wrote on Facebook, “Wow. I was just called a “gangster” and “racist” for supporting nondiscrimination policy. You can’t make this stuff up.” Jarrod also tweets, “Wow. Speaker claim nondiscrimination policy including gender identity is RACIST and would INCREASE black/hispanic dropout rates.” Uh huh.

  • Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

  • sonofkenny

    and anti-tolerant right wing politics is simply the result of the biggest example of bad parenting in world history.  

  • From the Dalia Palchik for Fairfax County School Board campaign:

    Last night, Providence District school board member Patty Reed failed to vote on a vital nondiscrimination policy update that will ensure students and teachers in Fairfax County are not discriminated against on the basis of gender identity. Despite the testimony of numerous Fairfax County residents, including those representing former transgender students who described hardships attending school without protections, Ms. Reed refused to vote to protect students and teachers from discrimination.

    In the Washington Post, Ms. Reed said that she thought the vote should be delayed, and noted that it took the school district over ten years to change school start times. At yesterday’s school board meeting, Ilyrong Moon, member at-large, noted that including “gender identity” protection was originally proposed in 2002.

    Statement of Dalia Palchik, candidate for Fairfax County School Board in Providence District:

    “Patty Reed’s statement of opposition to protecting some of Fairfax’s most vulnerable students is out of line with Providence District’s values. If elected, I will never abstain from protecting all FCPS students and teachers.”

    Final vote count on Motion to Adopt Policy 1450, Nondiscrimination, as detailed in the agenda item (SB; presented as new business 4/23/15)

    Motion by Ryan McElveen, second by Ilryong Moon.

    Final Resolution: Motion Carries

    Yes: Ilryong Moon, Ryan McElveen, Patricia Hynes, Kathy L Smith, Tamara D Kaufax – Chairman, Theodore Velkoff – Vice Chairman, Megan McLaughlin, Daniel G Storck, Jane K Strauss, Sandra S Evans

    No: Elizabeth Schultz

    Abstain: Patricia S Reed

  • From the meeting last night, per Ben Tribbett: “This is Andrea Lafferty, head of the “Traditional Values Coalition” who recently referred to transgendered people as “she-males” in the Washington Post. I wanted to get some video of what else she was saying but instead she attacked me.”  Ben adds that she “grabbed my hand and was putting her nails in my hand.” Yep, those are some serious “traditional values” right there. Ugh.

  • Just remember, Schultz was the main cheerleader for the angry, ignorant, howling mob that showed up earlier this week to hoot, holler, disrupt, and otherwise show total disrespect for: a) transgender students, who they are busy fearmongering about; b) the Fairfax County Public School Board; and c) themselves. Schultz was the also the ONLY member of the Board to vote against Policy 1450 (Nondiscrimination against transgender students). At one point, in attempting to quiet the mob she had been egging on all night, Schultz amde an enigmatic comment that riled-up opponents of transgender nondiscrimination should “follow on with any actions thereafter.” What did THAT mean exactly? Hard to say, but in the context of the anger and vitriol displayed that night, it doesn’t sound good to me.

  • BHPG

    All said, I believe in being fair. Watching video, it was one thing to vote no but the comments were actually pretty reasonable. Someone demanded she explain the vote. This was the answer. There’s really not much to complain about.  

    “Thank you for your email. I understand you supported passage of the Policy 1450 change.

    Please note, the Motion to Defer was to spend more time reviewing FCPS practices, understanding the scope and authentically engaging the public, including students, parents, teachers and other employees.

    These are fundamental obligations of the Board and Board Members to carry out our duties as prescribed by the Virginia Constitution and Virginia Code. Absent due diligence, bad policy work was passed, regulations are undrafted, implications unknown and costs are a mystery.

    That is not leadership or governance; rather ad hoc, hastily undertaken ‘winging it’. It respected no one and did a disservice to all.

    The need support to respect ALL students, parents, teachers, employees and taxpayers was clearly reiterated in my comments, which are attached for your convenience. It may be noted that the notion of “Don’t Discriminate” is, in fact, a main theme of my remarks.

    The figure of 99.7% is in deference to one of the leading LGBT policy experts, The Williams Institute (UCLA), which indicates .3% as the transgender population at a national level. I thought it appropriate, with no data and no information from FCPS regarding what FCPS is experiencing, to apply an national experts numbers to FCPS. That figure, thus, is likely high but it was more fair to over-estimate to be more inclusive than less on potentially affected FCPS students and employees.

    The rights of ALL parents, employees and students were at stake. Seeking to ensure this Board makes prudent, reasoned, and informed decisions necessitated vigorous representation on everyone’s  behalf.

    With appreciation for your time and advocacy, whether we agree or not on the quality of the work by the FCPS Board and Members on behalf of Fairfax County’s students, parents, teachers, employees and taxpayers.



    The vote of the Fairfax County School Board on a Motion to change its Policy 1450 regarding Non-Discrimination to add  ‘gender-identity’ (transgender) as a new separate protected class of students and employees leaves me deeply troubled as  one Board Member.

    As a Fairfax County Board Member, I took an Oath of Office to “faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent upon me…according to the best of my ability, so help me God.”

    Among the specific powers and duties of office is the specific charge that I shall:

    § 22.1-79 See that the school laws are properly explained, enforced and observed…Secure, by visitation or otherwise, as full information as possible about the conduct of the public schools in the school division and take care that they are conducted according to law and with the utmost efficiency.

    As such… I was COMPELLED to speak as a Board Member:

    • that we were making a policy change that I couldn’t explain, couldn’t enforce and couldn’t observe – because draft regulations regarding the policy haven’t been written and won’t be available to the Board until September 30, 2015.

    • that, not only did we not have ‘as full information as possible’, we had NO information.  

    • that the fiduciary obligations I have for a $2.6 Billion budget are made impossible to meet with “utmost efficiency” when we have no information about the cost of a policy change likely to impact professional development, facilities and staffing, at least – effectively creating a self-initiated, self-imposed unfunded mandate.

    • as the Chairman of the Public Engagement Committee of the FCPS Board that a policy change was placed on the Board’s Agenda which clearly and foreseeably has the need for public engagement – including students, parents, employees and stakeholders, to listen to concerns, solicit questions and provide answers to inevitable reasonable and prudent questions – but public engagement was never even considered.”