Transgender bathroom concerns were voiced loudly at a Fairfax County Public Schools Board meeting after "gender identity" was added to the district's non-discrimination policy. A massive amount of opposition to the policy was reportedly expressed by the community to the Virginia school board, but the transgender policy was approved as police were called for crowd control.
Fairfax County Public Schools parents and community members argued that the gender identity policy would lead to transgender bathrooms and permit boys to use the girls bathrooms and locker rooms -- and vice versa. Parents of Virginia students also noted their concerns about the possible hiring of transgender teachers within the district.
The United States Department of Education issued a mandate from its Office of Civil Rights about gender identity policy requirements, according to the Fairfax County school board. The mandate also reportedly threatened to yank federal funding if such a policy was not approved.
The district said they were mandated by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights to add "gender identity" to the policy or else risk losing federal funding.
Fairfax County Schools Deputy Superintendent Steven Lockard wrote a memo to school board members informing them about the gender identity policy mandate.
"The Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education is requiring that school divisions revise their non-discrimination policies to include gender identity," Lockard said. "If FCPS refuses to amend its policy, OCR has the right to recommend the termination of federal funding to FCPS."
Lockard also informed the Fairfax County school board members that the federal government is requiring the district to hire a consultant to "advise them on how school divisions should handle individual cases of transgender students."
Tamara Derenak Kaufax, the Fairfax County Public School Board chair, issued a public statement which maintained that the gender identity policy would "provide an environment which promotes equality where every student and employee is treated with dignity and respect."
Kaufax also said, "The School Board has taken this proactive step to protect our students and staff from discrimination."