Croll: Discriminating Against Transgender Kids is Not Only Immoral, It’s Illegal

By Chris Croll

When public school teachers in the Commonwealth of Virginia refuse to honor a student’s asserted name and pronouns because it conflicts with that teacher’s religious beliefs, they are breaking the law and, soon, they will be violating the terms of their employment.

In 1962, the United States Supreme Court banned school-sponsored prayer in public schools. This means no public-school teacher, of any faith, is permitted to espouse their religious beliefs to students during school hours. This separation of church and state is important for a variety of reasons, including the fact that public schools across America are attended by students of varying faiths, and those who observe no religion at all. When teachers cite their religious beliefs as a reason for treating some students differently in the classroom, they are, in fact, espousing their religious beliefs to those students. This is against the law.

A decade later, in 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments added protection for public school students from discrimination based on sex in programs or activities that receive federal funding. In March 2021, President Joseph Biden extended Title IX protections, via an executive order, so that, “All students should be guaranteed an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, including discrimination in the form of sexual harassment, which encompasses sexual violence, and including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.” A teacher who treats transgender students differently than other students is practicing discrimination on the basis of sexual identity. That is against the law.

In 2019, Loudoun County Public Schools adopted an amended Policy 1040 which prohibits discrimination based on, “Race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, age, or genetic information.” In January 2020, Policy 1040 was amended again to include language that asserts, “Demeaning or otherwise harmful actions are prohibited, particularly if directed at personal characteristics, including, but not limited to socioeconomic level, sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”

When teachers sign on to work for LCPS, they must agree to follow all School Board policies, or they risk termination.

The Virginia Department of Education is extending protections for transgender and non-binary students even further. Last month, the VDOE issued a mandate that all public-school divisions in the commonwealth must codify specific protections for these students as policy before the start of the 2021-2022 school year. LCPS is introducing its response to this mandate next week with Policy 8040 – Rights of Transgender and Gender Expansive Students. Once adopted, Policy 8040 obligates teachers to call students by their asserted name and pronouns, among other protections.

Again, any LCPS employee who does not follow this policy, or any other LCPS policy or any federal/state law, can and should be fired.

Why do transgender and non-binary students need so much protection? Aside from it being human decency to respect a person’s identity, research shows these kids are at much higher risk for mental health issues. How they are treated by the adults in their lives plays a big part in that health. The way adults treat these kids in schools is a model for how they will be treated by their classmates.

According to a May 2021 report from The Trevor Project, more than half of transgender and non-binary youth in the U.S. seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 3% of adolescents and teens in the United States today identify as transgender or non-binary. Statistically, this means more than 1,250 transgender and non-binary students who attend Loudoun County Public Schools have seriously considered killing themselves this past year. It’s no wonder our school counselors and local mental health professionals are so busy.

LCPS policies, like 8040, are protective. The Journal of Adolescent Health, as well as many other reputable organizations, has published research that indicates that if a transgender child’s pronouns and names are respected, the risk of them dying by suicide is dramatically reduced; in some cases, the risk is cut in half.

Put simply, respecting a student’s identity could mean life or death for that child. Therefore, it is hard to understand why anyone would resist Policy 8040 or any other policies that are designed to keep Loudoun’s kids safe. It is particularly hard to understand doing so on religious grounds when most organized religions practiced in this country explicitly call for the protection of the innocent.

If morality alone is not enough of a reason to respect a child’s wishes on what they wish to be called in school, LCPS employees now have a new reason to show transgender and non-binary kids the respect they deserve: Their jobs depend on it.

Chris Croll

Chris Croll is a writer, empathy activist and communications consultant. She sits on the Board of the Ryan Bartel Foundation, a youth suicide prevention nonprofit. Croll lives in Leesburg with her husband and two teenage boys.

24 thoughts on “Croll: Discriminating Against Transgender Kids is Not Only Immoral, It’s Illegal

  • 2021-06-18 at 9:51 am

    Once again, Chris Croll is speaking out of ignorance. Recall that this is the same Chris Croll who mocked Thomas Jefferson High School for having too many Asian students. That’s racist, Chris.

    And this is the same Chris Croll who bought some marketing nonsense from a test maker and added a personality/”creativity” test (I kid you not) to the Academy of Loudoun admission process. Anybody with a clue what the result was -> fewer minorities meeting the mark, the exact opposite of what Chris predicted.

    And now, Chris Croll is egging LCPS on to get defeated over and over and over again in court. In order to get federal funding, schools must comply with various federal laws including Title IX (related to sex discrimination) and Title VII (including religious discrimination). While Croll believes a fiat by Joe Biden that reverses the previous administration’s policy on what sex means changes the universe, no serious scholar believes that. Courts have already decided that teachers have a right to a religious accommodation to avoid calling boys girls and girls boys (trans students). And this week’s decision in Fulton vs the City of Philadephia (a unanimous decision in favor of a Catholic charity) makes it even clearer that the SCOTUS stands ready to protect religious rights in the fact of government intimidation.

    No educated person would accuse Chris Croll of being knowledgeable or educated on these subjects. She conflates her personal beliefs and agenda with the law. Croll is not a lawyer, has never stepped foot in the courtroom, and has no clue on what the case law says. If LCPS chooses to follow the whims of radical activists like Chris Croll, expect LCPS to end up with scores of defeats in court and for taxpayers to be on the hook for $$$$.

    • 2021-06-18 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks for your reply. It’s not clear whether this screed is a news or opinion piece but Loudoun Now seems to have let slip any remaining pretense of objectivity on this issue.

      Asserting a feeling is quite different from proving a point. Ms. Croll, former LCPS Board member, seems to fail to understand that.

      Ms. Croll’s “reasoning” is Orwellian, and I don’t mean that as a complement. Orwell wrote to warn us about tyranny though increasingly, people like Croll and Barts and Ziegler take his works as an instruction manual.

      Everyone deserves compassion but compassion is not the same as actively supporting and encouraging behaviors and thoughts that are ultimately self-destructive. And a huge number of the population at issue here attempt suicide. I know of one small school, very “progressive,” where there were multiple suicides and attempts this past academic year.

      Reasonable people ought to be able to find solutions, but it is all too clear that Croll, Barts and Ziegler are not reasonable and seek only to impose their ideology on the residents of the county.

    • 2021-06-18 at 1:44 pm

      “Notice which companies have people of color in leadership roles and on their boards and patronize those businesses.”

      Is this you Croll? Still stand behind your blatant racism? Now you’re threatening teachers with their jobs?

      Very empathetic…

  • 2021-06-18 at 10:14 am

    Thank You for this Chris.

    We have seen a lot of hype over the recent suspension of a LCPS teacher. One group that stepped in to support him is the Alliance Defending Freedom. The ADF has been classified as a hate group by the SPLC. What does it take to be classified a hate group?

    “The SPLC lists organizations such as the Family Research Council as anti-LGBTQ hate groups because they use dehumanizing language and pseudoscientific falsehoods to malign LGBTQ+ people. Some anti-LGBTQ hate groups support the criminalization of LGBTQ+ people in the United States and abroad, often marshaling the same debunked myths and demonizing claims in their efforts.

    A major misconception – one that is deliberately promoted by anti-LGBTQ hate groups in order to accuse the SPLC of being “anti-Christian” – is that the SPLC considers opposition to same-sex marriage or the belief that being LGBTQ+ is a sin as the sole basis for the hate group label. This is false. There are many organizations, such as Focus on the Family, and hundreds of churches and other religious establishments that oppose marriage equality or oppose being LGBTQ+ on strictly Biblical grounds that the SPLC does not list as hate groups.”

    • 2021-06-18 at 1:05 pm

      SPLC does not label ISIS as a hate group.

      You know, the good, wholesome folks in the Middle East who throw gay people off of roofs.

      So kindly save your “appeal to authority.” Any reasonable person knows that SPLC is simply a Left Wing hot squad that weaponizes its “information” against those who stand contrary to their beliefs.

      Good grief.

      • 2021-06-18 at 3:39 pm

        ISIS is, to my knowledge, not operating in Loudoun County.

        • 2021-06-18 at 6:57 pm

          Sorry, but you can’t sidestep the point. Not matter how inconvenient it may be or how detrimental it is to your position.

  • 2021-06-18 at 10:16 am

    In 2014, facing a right wing religious family and environment, Lelah Alcorn took her own life. Even in death, her parents refused to accept her. Regardless, she lays cold in the ground. Recent organized attacks by right wing Loudouners backed by the Alliance Defending Freedom and other groups described as Hate Groups by the SPLC bring these memories to the surface. The hatred transgender people face is as unrelenting as it is unfounded. We just want to live.

    If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue.

    Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better. The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in… because I’m transgender. I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally ‘boyish’ things to try to fit in.

    When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.

    My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more Christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.
    When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life. On my 16th birthday, when I didn’t receive consent from my parents to start transitioning, I cried myself to sleep.

    I formed a sort of a ‘f*** you’ attitude towards my parents and came out as gay at school, thinking that maybe if I eased into coming out as trans it would be less of a shock. Although the reaction from my friends was positive, my parents were pissed. They felt like I was attacking their image, and that I was an embarrassment to them. They wanted me to be their perfect little straight christian boy, and that’s obviously not what I wanted.

    So they took me out of public school, took away my laptop and phone, and forbid me of getting on any sort of social media, completely isolating me from my friends. This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness.

    At the end of the school year, my parents finally came around and gave me my phone and let me back on social media. I was excited, I finally had my friends back. They were extremely excited to see me and talk to me, but only at first. Eventually they realized they didn’t actually give a s**t about me, and I felt even lonelier than I did before. The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.

    After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like s**t because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I’ve had enough. I’m never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I’m never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy. Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say ‘it gets better’ but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.

    That’s the gist of it, that’s why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that’s not a good enough reason for you, it’s good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don’t give a s**t which one. The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say ‘that’s f***ed up’ and fix it. Fix society. Please.

    (Leelah) Josh Alcorn

  • 2021-06-18 at 10:20 am

    I neglected to say that the note above was from 1914 and posted by Lelah Alcorn. Her family continued to mis-gender in death.

  • 2021-06-18 at 10:31 am

    2 gender, dna science says so the rest man made baloney.

    • 2021-06-18 at 3:44 pm

      Funny though, the Talmud describes 5 genders in some places, and 8 genders in others. Of course, Jesus never mentioned this at all. So we must go back to the Jewish writings.

      Meanwhile, let’s also ban bacon, wearing gold (including wedding rings), remember how to treat your slaves properly, eat no shellfish (darn, just as Red Lobster is having a sale), remember that anyone with a tattoo is going to hell, and that there is no divorce. Anyone that is having relations with anyone but their first spouse is committing adultery and they both need to be stoned to death.

      Give me a break.

      • 2021-06-18 at 5:09 pm

        It’s very odd for the Leftist IamWhatIam to respond to a scientific observation with a bunch of religious history. Given it’s apparent misunderstanding of science, let’s review some basic facts:

        A biological species is a group of organisms that can reproduce with one another in nature and produce fertile offspring. The term species can also be defined as the most basic category in the system of taxonomy.

        Reproduction of the human species (and virtually all other species) requires a male and a female. All others are weeded out by natural selection. Any more questions Iam?

  • 2021-06-18 at 10:38 am

    It is the Southern Poverty Law Center, not ADF, that is the hate group. Here’s an excerpt from a USA Today article in Aug 2019:

    “The SPLC dismissed its co-founder in March, and its president has resigned amidst numerous claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and racism within the organization — a parade of disgraces that vividly force the conclusion: The SPLC is hollow, rotten and failing at the very virtues it pretends to celebrate.

    The criticism comes from many corners. There’s the Current Affairs editor who seems sympathetic to the center’s progressive mission but decries its “hate group” list as an “outright fraud” and a “willful deception designed to scare older liberals into writing checks to the SPLC.” ”

    The whole SPLC is a scam. In fact, they incite violence as FBI agents have testified that radicalized left-wing gunmen sometimes target organizations because of the “hate group” label SPLC falsely gives organizations.

    • 2021-06-18 at 3:45 pm

      LOl, a USA Today article written by someone in a hate group. You have a problem with the definition above? You have no reason to bully transgender kids, except you hate them. If they kill themselves, oh well.

    • 2021-06-18 at 3:54 pm

      Yah, checked this article. It’s listed as opinion and was written by
      “ Jessica Prol Smith is senior news writer and editor for Alliance Defending Freedom. Follow her on Twitter: @JessicaProl”.

      The ADF is the group defended Byron Cross and is in fact, the hate group involved in Loudoun County. Note that one attribute of a hate group is…..lying.

      • 2021-06-18 at 5:20 pm

        And yet, Iam, you cannot dispute a single criticism the author levied against SPLC. You define yourself by your hate (ironic, I know) of the ADF.

        Recall the SPLC defines Ayaan Hirsi Ali, perhaps the most eloquent spokesperson for the rights of Muslim women, as a “toxic… anti-Muslim extremist.” Say what?!

        Charles Murray is a political scientist who noted in the course of the 20th century, intelligence became a better predictor than parental socioeconomic status or education level of many individual outcomes, including income, job performance, pregnancy out of wedlock, and crime, and that social welfare programs and education efforts to improve social outcomes for the disadvantaged are largely counterproductive. All facts and rather uncontroversial. And for that “crime” the SPLC castigated Murray as a “white nationalist”. Say what?!

        Nobody is buying what the SPLC is selling. When asked why the SPLC did not cover anarchist violence during Occupy Wall Street protests, the organization reportedly said, “We’re not really set up to cover the extreme Left.” Not even the Leftists, who use the SPLC for claptrap, believe what it says.

        Just stop lying, Iam.

        • 2021-06-18 at 6:09 pm

          I dispute them all. It’s like Goebbles calling Churchill evil. You literally referenced an opinion piece by a hate group to defend your position. This says all about you that I need to know.

          And is defending the rights of vulnerable children leftist? If it is, then yes call me leftist. A leftist Marine. Who knew?

          • 2021-06-19 at 12:49 am

            Every single “news” article by the mainsteam media is an opinion piece these days. But let’s go slow for the Leftist.

            1. There are no scientific studies performed on political organizations, especially radically left ones, like the SPLC. So we cannot use true research to evaluate the credibility and ethics of SPLC.

            2. The entire mainstream news media doesn’t have any credibility. Recall the theory that COVID started in the Wuhan Institute of Virology was (i) described for nearly a year as a conspiracy theory by all the maintream media outlets, (ii) blocked as “false” by Big Tech, and (iii) even an interview Tucker Carlson held with a Chinese virologist was removed from the social media platforms. Now, after many scientists had the courage to make their analysis public (which was performed last spring but hidden because of fear that hate groups like the SPLC would make false accusations to destroy reputations), even the fake news is acknowledging they buried the theory because of politics. No rational person takes any “news” story as accurate without checking the purported facts contained inside.

            3. Both news articles and opinion pieces can contain facts. That’s why either can be the subject of a defamation claim in court. You see, a “fact” is a provable event. It can be proven true or false. But its accuracy can be ascertained. If not, the claim is an opinion. I will repeat: you cannot refute a single verifiable FACT I stated above. Just like the charlatan Fauci cannot refute a single fact printed in op-eds in major newspapers by scientists (see, those op-eds contain more facts than any “news” story but are still labeled as ….. wait for it …. an opinion simply because the fake news reporter didn’t write it), you only recourse is to point out it was critics, not “journalists”, who had to cover the corruption at SPLC.

            Hopefully, even a Leftist can understand the difference between facts and fake news now. But none of us will hold our breath that you can refute a single corrupt fact about the SPLC listed above.

    • 2021-06-18 at 4:53 pm

      Lest’ we forget the nearly 200 M-M-Million dollars SPLC has stashed offshore in the Cayman’s and Bermuda. Mighty rich for a non-profit with the word ‘poverty’ in it’s name.

      There’s a term for this sort of thing — Con artist.

      • 2021-06-18 at 6:10 pm

        Sure. Again, quotes from an article from a hate group that has called for forced sterilization of LGBT people. If you can’t see out of the trash can you live in, we can’t help you.

        • 2021-06-18 at 6:22 pm

          You should start quoting Mein Kamph to “prove” that a Jewish communist Kabul caused Germany to lose WW1. (Hate to pop that bubble if you think that’s true.)

          Pseudo Science, deflection, lies, it all adds up to the fact that misgendering and disrespecting transgender CHILDREN by teachers and other figures of authority causes immense harm up to and including suicide. You and your cohorts fail to address that at all. You just really don’t care about those vulnerable kids.,

          It’s because people smarter than you Do realize that this is true that laws have been passed and upheld in the courts. These laws are in place to protect children from YOU. Forgive me if I disregard the opinions of someone willing to and wanting to hurt kids.

          • 2021-06-19 at 8:00 pm

            Who are you rambling to? Why in the world are you referencing WW1?

            The courts that have considered this have provided religious accommodations preventing teachers from being forced to call boys girls. And the clueless Loudoun officials who think these laws are rock solid clearly don’t actually read case law. See the Fulton vs City of Philadephia SCOTUS opinion. There already exists a majority to protect the free exercise of religion in these cases even independent of Title VII. But being knowledgeable or logical is not a characteristic of the radical Left pushing these ideas. And it’s funny how you discount the damage done to kids going through a phase who get called the wrong gender in a fad. 70% of the time that’s the case. Nor do you care about the privacy of girls who will be forced to have biological boys in their bathrooms. Any gym that allowed men (dressed up as women) to walk naked in the women’s locker room wouldn’t have many female clients for long. And yet we force this on adolescent girls who are already overly modest in puberty? That’s just sick and evil.

            In the end, this is about the feelings of adults confused about their “gender”. Justifying their own behavior is the basis for all of these radical laws.

  • 2021-06-21 at 8:59 am

    Once you state that you are Ok with bullying LGBT kids, despite knowing that this causes pain and anguish and suicide I really stop listening to your arguments.

    I’ve tried to show the absurdity of your positions. Clearly my arguments don’t matter. To cut to the chase, attacking LGBT kids is bullying, it’s evil, and it hurts an extremely vulnerable population. The arguments several of you present for hurting kids just don’t matter. Except that they demonstrate that you must be stopped.

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