Virginia Superintendent requires every school board to adopt policies on treatment of transgender students

Virginia's Superintendent announced Friday that he would be requiring every school board in the state to adopt policies on the treatment of transgender students.

Superintendent James Lane says school boards that do not adopt a policy for this upcoming school year assume all legal responsibilities for non-compliance.

One of those school boards that has not yet adopted such policy is Loudoun County. The school board met on this issue last month and that meeting ended in disaster.

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The memo Superintendent Lane sent out to every school district in the state warns that although school boards won't lose state funding, they could face tough financial consequences from civil litigation or other liabilities. 

This means local tax payers, rather than the state, would bear the burden if a board chooses not to adopt a policy on the treatment of transgender students.

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While tax dollars are always a touchy subject, not every Virginia parent is upset at the prospect.

"Well, nobody asked these questions when Fairfax County, for example, submitted an amicus brief that they hired a very expensive law firm to file for them in the Gavin Grimm case," says parent and Senior Fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council Meg Kilgannon. "People are going to litigate over issues facing the school board, and I'm confident that most school boards have insurance policies and money budgeted for just these battles."

Superintendent Lane did tell school boards today that they should consult with their board attorney and their local insurance provider on the ramifications of not adopting policies.

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Some of this debate is playing out at the upper echelon of the Department of Education and in Virginia courts, but one Loudoun County parent is focused on the impact it will have if the school board does not adopt this policy.

"I have a 7-year-old transgender child in Loudoun County. So he's in the elementary schools here," says Emily Keuhl. "If this policy doesn't get passed, it hurts my son. What do I tell my son? He just wants to be the kid that he wants to be. He doesn't want to be the trans kid. He just wants to be the boy. Like, you know, I just wish everybody would stop hating everything." 

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Loudoun County's next school board meeting is scheduled for August 10 when they will consider whether to adopt their own policy on the treatment of transgender students.