Great job by the Prince William County public schools (see press release, below), following a similar decision by the Fairfax County public schools – and one which should be emulated by every school district in Virginia. And remember – particularly with Youngkin et al lying about school districts supposedly being required to follow his orders, as if he were a dictator – what former VA Secretary of Education explained back on July 19:
“There is no constitutional requirement for local divisions to adopt anything from the 2023 model policy; they can ignore it, just as they could have ignored the 2021 model policy…it’s their choice…There was not a legal mandate before and there is not a legal mandate now.”
“All school boards and superintendents should remember that no schools are required to implement this administration-crafted policy and should think twice before considering this politically divisive debate and exposing themselves to extensive legal liability.”
So again, the LAST thing school districts should do is cave to Glenn Youngkin’s pressure or succumb to his lies. Better to tell him where to shove it and focus on educating and protecting students.
PWCS celebrates our diversity as a strength and welcomes all students. PWCS is also committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment and serving as trusted partners in education with our students, families, and community.
The purpose of school division policies addressing nondiscrimination is to ensure that all PWCS students and families have access to our educational programs and facilities so they can learn, graduate, and have successful futures. PWCS’ current policies are consistent with federal and state anti-discrimination laws. PWCS policies already prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity consistent with Virginia law.
The most recent update to PWCS Policy 738, “Nondiscrimination and Harassment of Students,” brought this policy into conformity with those other PWCS nondiscrimination policies and regulations intended to ensure compliance with the Virginia Values Act, which was amended by the legislature to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In Gloucester County School Board v Grimm, the U.S. Court of Appeals clarified that any public school that denies a transgender student the right to access its school programs and facilities, consistent with the student’s gender identity, is engaging in discrimination on the basis of sex in violation of Title IX and the Equal Protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. That is the law in Virginia, which VDOE’s Model Guidelines acknowledge.
PWCS already has a regulation in place to address the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming students in our schools. PWCS Regulation 738-5, “Treatment of Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students,” is consistent with both federal and state anti-discrimination laws, and PWCS employees will continue to follow this regulation.
Parents and guardians are critical in their child’s education and PWCS has a history of working directly with families of students who are transgender, and those who are gender nonconforming, to ensure a safe and positive academic experience that meets individual student needs. Sensitive situations are addressed on a case-by-case basis in the best interest of the child, while prioritizing safety.