“I knew it was an uphill battle to challenge an incumbent,” said Dalia Palchik on Nov. 6 during a telephone interview. “We really had a strong grassroots campaign.”
Palchik — a native of Argentina who graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria — spoke with the Blade three days after she defeated Reed by a 58-41 percent margin.
Palchik, who teaches at the Sheridan School in Northwest Washington, told the Blade she considered challenging Reed because of what she described as a lack of “educators’ voices” on the board. The educator also referenced the need for “more minority voices” and those of “people who grew up in the system.”
’A lot of misinformation’ around trans-inclusive policy
Palchik will represent the Providence District on the Fairfax County School Board, which includes portions of Falls Church, once she officially takes office on Jan. 1.
Reed, a Republican who has represented the district since 2009, earlier this year voted against a measure that added LGBT-specific information to the Family Life Education curriculum for middle and high school students.
The Republican earlier this year abstained from a vote on a proposal that added gender identity to the Fairfax County School District’s anti-discrimination policy. Reed last November supported the inclusion of sexual orientation in the regulation that ultimately passed.
The Traditional Values Coalition, a group that opposed the inclusion of gender identity in the anti-discrimination policy, endorsed Reed. Equality Virginia, a statewide LGBT advocacy organization, backed Palchik.
Palchik told the Blade the anti-discrimination measure was among the issues that voters raised with her during the campaign.
“The majority of people were like ‘Yeah, okay of course we support this issue,’” she said.
Palchik told the Blade the inclusion of gender identity in the non-discrimination policy was designed to end “bullying and discrimination and [protect] our most vulnerable.”
“There was a lot of misinformation,” she said, referring to the heated debate around the issue. “It was just hateful language all around. It became pretty clear this was about protecting transgender students or not transgender students.”
Palchik told the Blade that “one of her goals” once she takes office is to ensure the policy is implemented. She added students are the ones who “are the most informed on it.”