The Hanover County School Board passed a transgender policy crafted with help from conservative legal group the Alliance Defense Fund. The policy includes an extensive process for transgender students to request access to their preferred bathroom, including allowing the board to request the student’s criminal history documents.Read More
After refusing to pass a transgender policy required by Virginia law, the Hanover County Public School Board has introduced a proposed transgender policy that, if enacted, will require a written request from both the student and their parents if that student wants to use a restroom or locker room that doesn’t correspond with their biological sex. Under the proposed policy the school board would approve or deny the requests.Read More
Senator Travis Hackworth (R-Tazewell) is seeking to repeal a requirement that Virginia school districts pass policies consistent with the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students. Alongside policy debates about COVID-19, equity, and accelerated learning, the transgender policies were a major source of contention in 2021 as local school boards were forced to comply with state law — even when local officials didn’t agree with the policy.
“Senator Hackworth believes that education decisions are always best made when handled locally among those closest to the children and families served in those schools,” Hackworth Legislative Aide Tom Lester said in a statement to The Virginia Star.Read More
The Loudoun County Public School (LCPS) Board agreed to a settlement of the original claims teacher Tanner Cross made in his lawsuit against the board. The agreement includes a permanent injunction barring the board from retaliating against Cross for speaking against the school’s transgender policy. The school will also pay $20,000 for Cross’ legal fees, and remove any reference to Cross’ suspension from his personnel file. The rest of the lawsuit to block enforcement of the transgender policy is still going forward.
The initial lawsuit was triggered after the school placed Cross on leave following comments at a May 27 school board meeting. He opposed a proposal that would require staff to use students’ preferred pronouns. In a preliminary injunction, Cross was allowed to return to work. On November 15, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is representing Cross, announced the settlement of claims in that initial lawsuit.Read More
Virginia Beach has several competitive House of Delegates races where Republicans hope to make gains that will help power them to a House of Delegates majority. GOP candidates are focusing on a mix of law-and-order and education policy in a city where school board politics underlie several of the local House races.
In HD 83, Attorney Tim Anderson is challenging Delegate Nancy Guy (D-Virginia Beach), a former school board member. In the past, Anderson has endorsed and legally represented School Board Member Victoria Manning, a member of a conservative minority faction on the school board. Manning herself has pushed for recalls of her fellow school board members, including Vice Chair Kim Melnyk, who is challenging Delegate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 84. Additionally, 2020 school board candidate Jeffrey Feld is challenging Delegate Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) in HD 81.Read More
Loudoun County teachers Tanner Cross, Monica Gill, and Kimberly Wright spoke at a rally before the Loudoun County School Board meeting Tuesday evening. They are suing the school district over its transgender policy 8040 that includes a requirement that teachers use students’ preferred pronouns. Previously, the lawsuit focused on Cross’ termination after he spoke out at a school board meeting; an injunction in that case forced the district to allow him to return to work.
“I cannot thank this community enough for you support and unwavering dedication to stand alongside me in the fight to speak freely in a continued effort to protect our students and our children from harmful ideologies,” Cross said at the rally. “Now, the battle turns to policy 8040 itself.”Read More
Two more teachers will join Tanner Cross’ lawsuit against the Loudoun County School Board. On Thursday, the Loudoun Circuit Court approved a motion to amend the case, which adds Loudoun County High School history teacher Monica Gill and Smart’s Mill Middle School English teacher Kim Wright to the case.
The amended complaint also shifts focus to a requirement in the new transgender policy that teachers use students preferred pronouns; the original complaint focused on the district firing Cross after he spoke out at a school board meeting.Read More
The Virginia Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s injunction to force Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to reinstate teacher Tanner Cross. LCPS officials had asked for a review of the decision by the Loudoun County Circuit Court, saying the court was incorrect to find a likelihood of success on the merits of the case, that Cross wasn’t likely to suffer irreparable harm without the injunction, and that the court hadn’t considered the totality of the circumstances.
“We conclude that the Defendants have not established the circuit court abused its discretion in granting Cross a temporary injunction,” the Virginia Supreme Court’s Monday order states.Read More
The Newport News School Board reconsidered its vote against a transgender policy. After frustration from transgender advocates and politicians including Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA-03) and Delegate Mike Mullin (D-Newport News), the board voted four to three in favor of the policy, flipping its previous vote of five to one with one abstention.
In the Thursday special meeting Member John Eley explained why he changed his vote: “As school board members we must uphold the law and follow the law. If we’re not in compliance with the law, we’re breaking the rules.”Read More
Fight for Schools PAC announced Wednesday that they have collected 158 percent of the signatures necessary to ask a court to recall Loudoun School Board Member Beth Barts.
“For five months, Loudoun County has been at the center of local, state, national, and even international media attention. Much of this is due to the actions of Beth Barts. She has shown a complete inability to comply with the law, her own code of conduct, and the basic decency that accompanies being an elected official in the United States of America,” Fight for Schools Executive Director Ian Prior said in a press release.Read More
The Chesapeake Public Schools Board declined to even vote on passing a transgender policy in its Monday meeting. After hours of public comment advocating for and against both mask policy and the transgender policy, Member Patricia King’s motion to pass the policy died without being seconded by any other board member.Read More
The Albemarle County School Board passed a transgender policy on August 12. Less than a week later on Wednesday, Albemarle resident Randy Zackrisson announced a write-in campaign to challenge board Chair Graham Paige in the Samuel Miller District.
“This is why I’m running for school board: to respect parental rights. To let the parents decide how to raise their children. That’s their responsibility, not the school system,” Zackrisson said in an announcement speech posted to Facebook by Philip Hamilton, Republican candidate for House of Delegates District 57.Read More
The Newport News Schools Board voted 5-1 with one abstention against adopting a transgender policy on Tuesday. Board members cited concerns about provisions limiting how school staff can discuss children’s gender with parents and other concerns about implementation.
“For us to have to go in this direction when we have kids that are failing and are dropping out who didn’t get a great education as other kids did during the pandemic to discuss a gender policy,” Member John Eley said.Read More
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is shifting focus in its Cross v. Loudoun County School Board lawsuit after the board approved a transgender policy last week. On Monday, the ADF filed a request to amend their complaint with the court. The new complaint adds two more Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) teachers and focuses on a provision that requires all faculty and students to use a students preferred pronouns.
ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer said in a press release, “Loudoun County Public Schools is now requiring all teachers and students to deny truths about what it means to be male and female and is compelling them to call students by their chosen pronouns or face punishment. Public employees cannot be forced to contradict their core beliefs just to keep a job. Freedom — of speech and religious exercise—includes the freedom not to speak messages against our core beliefs.”Read More
The Loudoun County School Board voted 7-2 to approve a transgender policy on Wednesday evening, in the second day of a two-part meeting. A public hearing was held Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, many board members emphasized the significant amount of time at the state and local level dedicated to developing the policy in response to Virginia law. Board member Jeff Morse spoke at length in opposition to the policy. He and member John Beatty voted against the policy and tried to pass a motion to send the policy back to committee for more consideration.Read More
Lynchburg Circuit Court Judge J. Frederick Watson dismissed lawsuits challenging the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) model transgender policies. In the decision published Tuesday, Watson found that the plaintiffs the Christian Action Network (CAN) and the Founding Freedoms Law Center (FFLC) do not have standing. The plaintiffs had argued that the VDOE improperly responded to public comments.
“VDOE contends that the appellants are not aggrieved by the model policies, which are directed not at the appellants but at the local school boards, which have flexibility to fashion policies consistent with the model policies,” Watson’s decision states. “In these cases, the appellants do not have standing to challenge the model policies. Their dissatisfaction with VDOE’s response to their comments does not create an immediate, pecuniary, or substantial interest in this litigation, but only a remote or indirect interest.”Read More
Two organizations asked the Lynchburg Circuit Court to issue a preliminary injunction against the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) temporarily blocking implementation of legally-mandated transgender policies in school boards across Virginia. On Wednesday, they argued that while a lawsuit over the policy proceeds, school boards are implementing the policies which, they said, could be harmful to children.Read More
As culture war issues spread through public hearings at Virginia’s school board meetings, school boards are starting to oppose adopting new transgender policies mandated by state law. Amid complaints and demands from public speakers, the Pittsylvania County Schools (PCS) Board voted four to three on Tuesday to reject adopting the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools.Read More
The Loudoun County Circuit Court ordered Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to reinstate teacher Tanner Cross in a decision Tuesday. Cross is suing the Loudoun County School Board after he spoke at a school board meeting saying he would not use students’ preferred pronouns.
On Friday, the case had a lengthy hearing in the court where the defendants asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit; Cross’ team asked the court to issue a temporary injunction to allow him to return to work while the case proceeds.Read More
GOP gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin has called for Loudoun County Public Schools to reinstate a teacher who was placed on leave after opposing a potential policy requiring staff to use students’ preferred pronouns.Read More
The Family Foundation is suing the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) over its Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools. The model policies took effect March 6, 2021, and school boards must adopt policies consistent with the model by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. However, the Family Foundation says there are legal problems with the policies and that the VDOE did not properly address comments made during a legally required public comment phase.Read More