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Loudoun County teacher quits at contentious school board meeting over transgender policy, citing Christian values

A Virginia Department of Education memo requires school systems to implement a policy regarding the treatment of students who identify as transgender.

ASHBURN, Va. — August 11 Update:

The Loudoun County School Board voted 7-2 for the guidelines on Wednesday, a day after hundreds of people for and against the changes converged for a public hearing.  

Original Story:

The Loudoun County Public School Board again heard a couple hundred impassioned arguments from parents about the controversial transgender policy.

Opposing rallies gathered outside of Tuesday's meeting, with some calling for school board members' resignation and a refusal to adopt the policy. 

“I’m a Christian mom, and I believe what God said -- how he created us male and female", mother of three, Rene Camp said. "We respect everyone just as we should respect everybody, but I also am here to talk about HB257, because now that boys and girls are allowed to mix bathrooms, my daughter might not be safe in any of those bathrooms.”

Others stood up in favor of the policy, saying it gives students who identify as transgender the chance to be themselves.

“I do care about equity for all schoolchildren, and I believe if we protect transgender students and students of color, we protect all students, so we can make sure we have equity in our schools without taking anything away from anyone else, so we can make sure we have equity in our schools without taking anything away," parent Charlotte McDonnell said.

The Virginia Department of Education's Superintendent of Public Instruction, James Lane, sent a memo on July 30, requiring school systems to implement a policy regarding the treatment of students who identify as transgender by the 2021-2022 school year. That's based on new laws passed by the state.

The proposed policy has fueled a backlash against the school board and vitriol between parents.

The June 22 meeting even resulted in two men being detained after a large group of protesters against the policy refused to leave.

RELATED: 2 men detained at LCPS board meeting discussing pronoun use when addressing transgender students

Gym teacher Tanner Cross made national headlines after speaking out against the policy at a May meeting. It resulted in his suspension, after which he filed a lawsuit and was then reinstated.

RELATED: Suspended LCPS teacher reinstated after being placed on leave over comments about transgender students

More than 150 people were scheduled to speak in person and more still spoke virtually about the transgender policy, new in-school mask mandate, vaccines, virtual learning and critical race theory.

One parent who identified publicly as transgender said, "I'm encouraging you all to support policies that are inclusive of transgender students, and to show your support for transgender students and transgender faculty. This isn't pseudoscience, this isn't some sort of ideology. This is people's lives. This is civil rights."

One teacher, however, felt so opposed to that and other policies, that she resigned in front of the board.

"School board, I quit. I quit your policies. I quit your trainings and I quit being a cog in a machine that tells me to push highly politicized agendas on our most vulnerable constituents -- the children," teacher Laura Morris said.

Others threatened lawsuits if the board adopts the transgender policy.

At the center of all their arguments -- the kids -- what parents think is best for them and what the school board thinks is best -- and that's where the clashes keep happening.

One board member, Beth Barts, said she was joining the meeting virtually because she received intel from staff that indicated her personal safety could be in jeopardy if she showed up in person.

The school board is now scheduled to vote on whether or not to adopt the policy around students who identify as transgender Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.


WATCH THE FULL MEETING: Loudoun Co. School Board Meeting

The county's school board meeting will include discussions on transgender student rights, indoor mask mandates and critical race theory.

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