After Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration updated its “model policies” that drew backlash from transgender student advocates, Virginia’s largest school district indicated none of its policies would change.
These updated “model policies” related to student and parent rights in Virginia schools were finalized over the summer. The policies affect transgender student rights on bathroom choice, gender-based sports participation, changing a student’s name or gender, pronoun use by school staff, and changing a student’s name or sex on their student record.
Back on July 19, of course, former VA Secretary of Education explained that “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.” So now the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) system, the largest (by far) in Virginia, has made ITS choice, and it’s the right one for everyone. For the full FCPS press release, see here and below. Nice work, FCPS!
Hello FCPS Students, Staff, Families, and Community,
I’d like to thank the many of you who have expressed your concern to me about the Virginia Department of Education’s new model policies regarding the treatment of transgender and gender expansive students in public schools, and how they would impact our current guidelines for establishing a safe, supportive, welcoming, and inclusive school environment for all students, including our gender-expansive and transgender students. We have concluded our detailed legal review and determined that our current Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) policies are consistent with federal and state anti-discrimination laws as required by the new model policies.
Let me be clear that FCPS remains committed to fostering a safe, supportive, welcoming, and inclusive school environment for all students and staff, including our transgender and gender expansive students and staff.
We believe that supporting our students and working with parents and caregivers are not mutually exclusive; we already do both and will continue to do so. We know that students can only learn effectively when they feel safe and supported.
All students have a right to privacy in FCPS facilities or while participating in FCPS sponsored events. Any student who has a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, shall be provided with reasonable, non-stigmatizing accommodations.
Our existing policies still stand. This means that at FCPS schools, in accordance with our existing policies, our gender expansive and transgender students:
- Will continue to be addressed by their chosen names and pronouns, as provided by FCPS Regulation 2603 (V) and federal law.
- Will continue to be provided with access to facilities, activities, and/or trips consistent with their gender identity, as provided by Regulation 2603 (IX) and federal law.
- Will continue to have their privacy respected regarding gender expansive or transgender status, legal name, or sex assigned at birth, as provided by FCPS Regulation 2603 and federal law.
As a school division our policies, procedures, and values should reflect our community. We will continue to consider feedback from everyone on Team FCPS – our students, staff, families, and community, in order to best support our students and staff while working with parents and caregivers. We will continue to make every effort to encourage and support communication between students and parents/caregivers.
Thank you again to the many of you who shared your perspectives on this matter over the last several weeks. Our diversity of voices and experiences is one of our community’s greatest strengths.
I’m looking forward to welcoming all of you back to a safe, welcoming, and respectful learning environment as the school year begins in just a few short days.
Michelle Reid, Ed.D.
Fairfax County Public Schools