Loudoun School Board Adds Protections for Students’ Gender Expression

The School Board has voted to add “gender expression” to the list of characteristics to be protected from demeaning or harmful actions in the division’s educational and work environments.

Under the Jan. 12 action, gender expression was added to the list of protected characteristics that includes socioeconomic level, sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. The change was intended to address concerns about students’ mental health, including suicide prevention.

Jeff Morse (Dulles) and John Beatty (Catoctin) voted against the amended policy. Morse said he was concerned that the policy did not require that parents be notified when a student requests to change his or her gender in the classroom setting. He said that could increase the stress students face if they try to maintain separate identities at school and at home. 

All the school division’s policies in this arena are expected to be revised later this year when the state Department of Education completes work on a new model policy addressing transgender students.

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