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From critical race theory to the treatment of trans students: Gloucester County School Board hosts town hall

Members of the Gloucester County School Board welcomed comments from concerned parents, students and community members at an hours-long town hall.

GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. — “Is GCPS teaching critical race theory, no," said Gloucester County School Board Chair Robin Rice. She explained to a packed town hall meeting Tuesday that critical race theory is not taught as part of the Gloucester County Public Schools (GCPS) curriculum. 

A prepared presentation from the division instead highlighted that topics like race, racism, gender, diversity, equity, inclusion and identity are “incorporated into GCPS School Board Policies, as well as many of Virginia Standards of Learning."

“History can be uncomfortable, you don’t have to like what you find when you explore history," said one speaker. 

“The narrative in this country is that we are all inherently racist and I’m about sick of it. It is ridiculous," said another speaker at the podium. 

Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services Dr. Chuck Wagner mentioned that students can take African-American History as an elective, for a deeper dive on the topic.

"In the hope that there are students interested in taking it. We have teachers who would be interested in taking it," said Wagner. 

RELATED: What is critical race theory and why is everyone talking about it right now?

Also drawing a crowd, a discussion on the treatment of transgender students. In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Gloucester County school board's appeal to reinstate its transgender bathroom ban. It was a victory for former Gloucester High School student Gavin Grimm who fought in court for six years to overturn the ban. 

The school board said it could not make immediate comments, but people in the crowd did.

"I will not allow my daughters to pee or even take a s--- next to a boy," said one parent. 

"With the rest of the country, it’s not a big deal, just like it shouldn’t be a big deal here," said one former Gloucester County student who is transgender. "Please just treat us graciously."

Gloucester County School Board also said it could not make any comments yet on the new state legislation about transgender students. The policy requires every school board in Virginia to adopt a set of standards that would promote inclusivity. 

The Gloucester County School Board on Tuesday did not vote or take any action in regards to critical race theory or transgender students.


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