Virginia Beach Parents Sue to Force Schools to Adopt Glenn Youngkin’s Anti-Trans Policies
Author: Trudy Ring
As the school board in Virginia Beach, Va., the state’s largest city, remains undecided on adopting Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s anti-transgender policies, two parents have filed suit seeking to force the board to enact them.
Youngkin and his Department of Education announced the “model policies” a year ago and finalized them in July. They state that sex means “biological sex,” not gender identity, that students must use restrooms and changing rooms designated for that sex, and that students may compete only on the sports teams for that sex as well.
They also state that school personnel must refer to students only by the names and pronouns on their official records unless a student or their parent makes a written request for a change, and that school staffers must inform parents if the student expresses a different gender or engages in counseling or social transition about it.
Under a Virginia law passed in 2020, the state is required to craft model policies regarding treatment of trans students, and school districts are required to adopt these policies or ones that go further but have the same aims. In 2021, under Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, the model policies were supportive of trans students.
Several school districts have decided not to approve the policies, even though Youngkin says it’s the law that they must. In its most recent vote on them, the Virginia Beach board deadlocked 5-5, with one member abstaining. Students in the district have been attending school board meetings to speak out against the policies ever since Youngkin’s announcement in September 2022.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Virginia Beach Circuit Court. It “seeks a declaration that school boards must adopt regulations consistent with the Youngkin administration’s model policies, and an injunction requiring the Virginia Beach board to adopt them,” the Associated Press reports. The news coverage does not identify the parents who filed it. They are represented by the law firm of Cooper & Kirk, which often takes up conservative causes.
The suit says the parents “want to protect their children from being compelled to use biologically inaccurate names and pronouns, forced to use bathrooms and locker rooms with members of the opposite sex, or required to pretend during athletic competition that gender identity can override the enduring physical differences between boys and girls.”
Opponents of the policies have pointed out the potential harm to trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming students. Some also cite a federal court ruling that another Virginia school district, in Gloucester County, violated trans boy Gavin Grimm’s civil rights by not allowing him to use the boys’ restroom in his high school. Supporters of the anti-trans policies contend that the Grimm ruling was not so broad that the Youngkin policies would conflict with it.
So far, Virginia Beach school officials haven’t commented publicly on the suit.
Pictured: Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and a sign at First Colonial High School in Virginia Beach
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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring