Our public schools have a responsibility to protect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students. But increasingly, government officials are being pressured to extend special privileges to a few, while eliminating commonsense protections for all.
On Tuesday, September 10, the Stafford County School Board in Virginia will vote on whether to implement two policies that bestow special protections based on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" (SOGI). By all accounts, it will likely be a 4-3 vote, but the outcome is unclear.
These policies are not in the best interests of all students, and would represent premature action by the school board, as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to address this issue during its upcoming term. Help us urge the school board to vote "no" on these policies, and protect the rights of all students.
In late 2018, Superintendent Scott Kizner put forth a "Gender Identity and Expression" proposal, which would have effectively eliminated distinctions of male and female. The policy would direct schools to allow biological men to freely access locker rooms, restrooms and other private spaces reserved for girls. It would also open girls' sports to men, and compel speech by requiring students and teachers to use pronouns that are inconsistent with a person's biological sex.
Incredibly, the policy noted that, for any students who expressed discomfort sharing intimate spaces with a member of the opposite sex:
"[S]chool administrators and counseling staff may address the discomfort and foster an understanding of gender identity, to create a school culture that respects and values all students. Moreover, the [objecting] student should be given the option to use an alternative option that is made available to any student who desires more privacy."
The implication is clear. Students are expected to willingly surrender their bodily privacy and dignity in the name of diversity and inclusion. Rather than seeking to accommodate the desires of the small number of students who struggle with their gender identity, the policy would require every other student to sacrifice his or her privacy or request an accommodation in order to restore this most basic protection.
This proposal was not implemented, but now the school board is set to consider a revised nondiscrimination policy. By the admission of Superintendent Kizner, such a policy "gives [the school district] a pathway" that could lead to the eventual adoption of a policy similar to his initial proposal. A second proposal will add SOGI protections to the district's equal opportunity anti-retaliation policy.
What can you do?
Let your voice be heard. Contact the Stafford County School Board members today and urge them to protect the privacy, safety, and dignity of all students by voting "no" on these two policies. Remind them that the U.S. Supreme Court is set to consider issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity in three cases this term; accordingly, any action by the school board would be premature and could needlessly expose the district to lawsuits or even the loss of federal funding by creating a hostile or abusive educational environment in noncompliance with Title IX. If you are in Virginia and are able to do so, please attend the school board's meeting on Tuesday, September 10 at 7pm and let your voice be heard.
Together, we can remind our government officials of their responsibility to all students.
This opinion editorial was originally published on Townhall.com.