VIRGINIA (FOX 5 DC) - A Virginia judge has tossed a lawsuit by conservative groups challenging the state's directive to local school boards to adopt inclusive policies for transgender students. However, those same conservative groups are still claiming victory.
Virginia Judge J. Frederick Watson tossed the Founding Freedoms Law Center's attempt to press pause on the state asking local school boards to develop policies concerning gender-expansive students, but because of the way he did it, the conservative group is calling it a win.
"He asked, what penalties are there if a school board does not adopt the model policies, and she said none," says Chief Counsel for Founding Freedoms Law Center Jim Davids. "So that opens up the local school boards to take their own independent judgment and action with respect to these. And that was huge. And that's something I think very much helped persuade the judge to rule in favor of dismissing the lawsuit because he said there's not a whole lot of harm out here, they're not gonna enforce it."
At least one local school board has already refused to comply with the state's directive. This month, the Russell County school board voted unanimously to reject the state's model policy for transgender students.
Jim Davids is hoping there will be more.
However, not everyone sees the case the way Davids does. One Loudoun County parent said the judge's decision gives transgender students more protection and sends a clear message.
"I think this really paves the way for those students to feel comfortable that they are protected," says parent and President of Equality Loudoun Cris Candice Tuck. "It sends a resounding message that there is no harm presented from enacting these policies. It sends a very clear message that trans children are not hurting anybody. That they are not disrespecting privacy, they're not creating unfair competitions."
Loudoun County has seen its fair share of debate and controversy over this issue. Just last month, a school board meeting erupted and resulted in one arrest.
Tuck tells FOX 5 that the next school board meeting is scheduled for August 10 and he expects the transgender student policy to get approved.
Jim Davids says his clients do not plan to appeal Judge Watson's decision.
The next step will be whether the state responds to local school boards who choose not to adopt a policy for transgender students.