December 14, 2016 at 12:12 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Loudoun County schools consider LGBT nondiscrimination policy

transgender students, gay news, Washington Blade

The Loudoun County School Board on Dec. 13, 2016, held a public hearing on whether to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its nondiscrimination policy.

The Loudoun County School Board on Tuesday held a public hearing on whether to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the district’s nondiscrimination policy.

The Loudoun Times-Mirror reported that the mother of a transgender teenager who attempted to take his own life is among those who spoke in favor of the proposed policy.

Former Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delguadio in a statement accused “pro-transgender advocates” of attempting to “hijack” the board. He also said the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity to the school district’s nondiscrimination policy would cost “millions of tax dollars.”

The board on Tuesday tabled the proposal. The Loudoun Times-Mirror reported it will likely vote on it at their next meeting on Jan. 10, but a specific date has not been scheduled.

State delegate: Board has ‘no legal authority’ to amend policy

The Fairfax, Arlington and Albemarle County School Districts have added sexual orientation and gender identity to their nondiscrimination policies. The cities of Alexandria, Charlottesville, Richmond and Virginia Beach have also adopted measures that protect LGBT public school students.

The Prince William County School Board in September held a public hearing on whether to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its district’s nondiscrimination policy.

Attorney General Mark Herring wrote in a 2015 opinion that state law allows school boards to include sexual orientation and gender identity in their nondiscrimination policies. The Loudoun Times-Mirror reported that state Del. David LaRock (R-Loudoun County) on Tuesday said the Loudoun County School Board has “no legal authority” to do so under Virginia law.

The Liberty Counsel in a 2015 lawsuit against the Fairfax County School District’s policy maintains members of the Fairfax County School Board violated state law when they added LGBT-specific protections to the district’s nondiscrimination policy. It specifically refers to the Dillon Rule, which the Liberty Counsel contends prohibits school boards from adding sexual orientation and gender identity to their nondiscrimination policy unless the Virginia General Assembly were to pass a law allowing them to do so.

The Virginia Supreme Court in September said it would consider the case.

“Virtually all of Virginia’s leading employers have enacted nondiscrimination policies,” James Parrish, executive director of Equality Virginia, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, told the Washington Blade on Wednesday in a statement. “It is disappointing to see school boards not use their authority to create learning and work environments where all students and teachers feel welcome regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

Comments are closed
© Copyright Brown, Naff, Pitts Omnimedia, Inc. 2020. All rights reserved.