NoVA Delegate urges Fairfax Public Schools to include gender identity in non-discrimination policy
Delegate Marcus Simon (D-53) sent a letter to the Fairfax County School Board today urging the group to add protections for transgender students and staff.
“As elected officials, it is our duty to ensure all residents of the Commonwealth receive equal treatment in employment and educational opportunities,” said Simon in the letter. “We have a responsibility to protect all children from unwarranted discrimination and to maintain a safe and welcoming workplace for our teachers and administrators.”
Simon also addressed the controversy over a recent school board meeting when the topic of adding gender identity to the list of protected classes was discussed. At that meeting, Del. Bob Marshall from Prince William and other NoVA conservative elected officials spoke against the proposed change, and they were not alone in their outrage.
“The decision will impact all grades,” read a press release from the American Family Foundation, a Mississippi-based group, who said they were “very concerned that Fairfax County has selected children — the most vulnerable, least powerful people in our county — as lab animals for this experiment.”
The dispute over the county’s ability to add gender identity comes on the heels of a March opinion released by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring which said the school boards had the ability to do so.
“The Supreme Court of Virginia has been clear that our constitution allows school boards to regulate for the ‘safety and welfare’ of children,” said Herring. ”And the General Assembly has been clear that school boards shall ‘provide that public education be conducted in an atmosphere free of disruption and threat to persons or property and supportive of individual rights.”
“Every Virginian has the right to live, learn, and work without fear of discrimination,” said Herring in a statement released along with the opinion. “That’s a Virginia value, and one that we must guard even more carefully when it comes to our children.”
Simon echoed AG Herrings remark in the letter, and stressed keeping GI off the list of protected classes kept Virginia in the dark ages.
“Continuing to reject such a mainstream change to non-discrimination policies is harmful to Virginia’s reputation as a great place to live, work and do business,” he said. “We could be a state where people and talent are judged on their merits and abilities, not the color of their skin, their national origin, their sexual orientation, or their gender identity.”
The Fairfax County School Board is set to vote on the issue on May 7th.
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