Loudoun School Board Approves Policy 8040, Granting New Protections to Trans Students

After hours of public comments Tuesday forced its meeting to carry over to a second day, the School Board last night adopted the controversial Policy 8040, protecting the rights of transgender and gender expansive students, on a 7-2 vote.

Jeff Morse (Dulles) and John Beatty (Catoctin) opposed the measure.

The policy was drafted to comply with the General Assembly mandate that was passed in March 2020 requiring school districts implement such protections before the start of the 2021-2022 school year. School districts that do not adopt such a policy will be held liable for any incidents or litigation against the school districts in consequence of not providing the protections.

Under the policy, trans students have the right to be addressed by their chosen names and pronouns, and to use facilities such as locker rooms and bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

The public comment portion of the meeting featured over 150 people sign up to speak. The procedure for comment was revised, limiting the public’s access to the board room. The changes to procedure were a response to the June 22 meeting, when an unruly crowd during public comment was cleared after being declared an unlawful assembly. Numerous parents expressed their discomfort with the prospect of their children being exposed to members of the opposite sex in bathrooms. 

Morse, who has been vocal about his concerns of the policy for months, explained that he felt ill at ease with several stipulations in the policy. He delivered a lengthy speech, arguing that such policies don’t exist to protect all marginalized groups, and passing Policy 8040 would necessitate passing similar protections for other groups. He pointed to Policy 1040, which already provides students with an equal opportunity for a safe, inclusive learning environment. 

Morse also had pause with nebulous wording in the policy, suggesting that the lack of specificity could land the district in legal trouble. He argued that the protections were redundant, as teachers already treat students respectfully. 

“Teachers are not monsters who pick on at-risk kids, and they don’t need to be told to love their students. They already do,” Morse said.

Morse’s statement prompted an impassioned response from Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge).

“I hope this is not the case, but it sounds as if you think bullying of LGBTQ students in LCPS is a thing of the past and it doesn’t happen today, and if you believe that, I would encourage you to speak to more gay and transgender students, because I don’t know how you could say that with a straight face,” Serotkin said.

Many who oppose the policy see it as divisive of families, because students are permitted to identify as a different gender while at school, without parents being notified. 

The meeting featured two student representatives to the School Board, who provided comment on the policy. Jamie Kaine, a Heritage High School senior, shared her support of the policy.

“I have been able to use the girls’ bathrooms and the girls’ restrooms freely, and I would feel no fear and no intimidation from transgender women being in the same bathroom, as well, because transgender women are women,” Kaine said. “These are not people that are coming into the bathroom to look at us or creep on us, that is not the goal of this movement and I think that often gets confused and I understand the fear but that’s not realistic.”

The board amended the draft policy prior to the vote, to require schools to update bathroom facilities to provide more privacy by adding stalls and gender-neutral bathrooms in coming years.

Chairwoman Brenda Sheridan (Sterling) expressed her support of the policy prior to the vote. She addressed the vitriolic and hateful messages she and fellow board members received in months prior over their support of the policy.

“I feel the responsibility to bear the burden of the negative comments and heinous emails, voicemails, and threats that I’ve received in order to see Policy 8040 passed and implemented to ensure a safe and affirming environment in Loudoun County Public Schools for our transgender and expansive students,” Sheridan said.

39 thoughts on “Loudoun School Board Approves Policy 8040, Granting New Protections to Trans Students

  • 2021-08-12 at 8:10 am

    I am so glad my children are out of LCPS and my grandchildren will never go to school here. If some boy who identifies as a girl had ever walked into the girls locker room or restroom when my kids were there I would have instructed my daughter to kick him in the junk to remind him that God made him a boy. This county has become a laughing stock. I am sure it will soon follow the Oregon mandate and say that forcing children to know how to read, write and do math at a minimum level to graduate HS is considered racist? After living in Loudoun County for the better part of 40 years it is finally time to get out. Between the liberal BOS and the moronic LCPS board it is time to get out, this county is beyond repair.

    • 2021-08-12 at 11:29 am

      This post advocates violence against a minority group.

    • 2021-08-12 at 1:52 pm

      I’m glad your kids and grandkids are out too! See, liberals can agree with your opinions.

    • 2021-08-12 at 4:59 pm

      You want your child to assault another student? Wow!

  • 2021-08-12 at 9:25 am

    Good. We are following state law and protecting one of our most vulnerable populations of children. I wish I could believe that this is the end of it. But the history of the Alliance Defending Freedom (A known extremist hate group) makes me doubt that.

    To my fellow citizens on the right. Your scenarios of doom are fantasies. The trans kids are not a threat. Stop being billies.

    • 2021-08-12 at 1:08 pm

      The only extremist hate group I see here are woke fascists on the school board and Board of Supervisors that sacrifice the rights and safety of the majority to cater to the feelings of an extremist minority.
      Surely the school system could protect these few so-called vulnerable without subjecting most students to potential abuse.

      • 2021-08-12 at 4:23 pm

        So, definitely hurt a vulnerable minority to protect the greater student body from a “potential” threat? Which is actually no threat and is based on hate filled fantasies.

        I know that I will never convince you.

        • 2021-08-13 at 2:03 pm

          No one is suggesting “hurting “ any minority.
          It is not hurtful to have a child use a bathroom corresponding to their biological gender or a gender neutral bathroom.
          It is certainly not hurtful to have kids participate in sports corresponding to their biological gender. It is certainly hurtful to biological girls to have biological boys compete with and against them.
          There are less extreme ways to support all kids. It

      • 2021-08-12 at 5:04 pm

        You do recall Slavery and Jim Crow and the Civil Rights movement and Stonewall and all the ways the “majority” attacked minorities and stole their Constitutional rights from them? I assume not as in that MAGA echo chamber all you can see is orange.

        African-Americans and Gays were sure extremist minorities alright. Daring to ask for equal treatment in the Good Old USA with all our “values” and all.

    • 2021-08-12 at 5:01 pm

      How can they when they elected a bully President who even mocked are honorable Prisoners of War and disabled citizens?

    • 2021-08-12 at 11:30 am

      Lose job for cause, no unemployment benefits. Employment at will state. I agree. Resist treating vulnerable kids with respect, lose job.

      • 2021-08-12 at 2:47 pm

        Force LCPS to fire you, which they hate to do, and then sue big time for big $$$.

        • 2021-08-12 at 4:30 pm

          Sue for big $$$? for what? Violating a policy of not bullying kids that complies with state law? Nope. Lose your job, receive no unemployment. Hope to get a job at one of the more extreme religious schools that embraces your hatred.

          Also be surprised when you find out many private companies will not tolerate your hateful ignorant behavior.

          “So Ms. Smith, I see you left teaching? Why?”
          “Well, they wanted to make me respect a group of vulnerable kids that I REALLY wanted to hate on.”
          “Oh? Was there any evidence these kids were a threat?”
          “Nope, none at all. I just thought that maybe, they could be a threat.”

          • 2021-08-13 at 10:18 am

            Policy 8040 is not going to withstand a court challenge. It will take several years to have it thrown out, but it will get shot down. The teacher that just quit just got a new job in less that 24 hours. In fact, the hiring situation is so desperate right now, anyone can get a job. New jobs are not a problem. Firing people from public positions is very fraught with risk and there are a plethora of ways to sue. LCPS knows this and will be loathe to fire anyone. Plus, look at all the publicity LCPS has gotten nationally. Lawyers are chomping at the bit to get that kind of national publicity.

            What is a problem are Democrats that are destroying the public education system (among others) in the U.S.

        • 2021-08-12 at 5:07 pm

          Sue for what, I thought the right-wingers hated torts and litigation? You are hired at will by an employer and follow their policies. Don’t like the policies there don’t apply.

          If you want to discriminate against others go to religious or private schools to have at it.

          • 2021-08-13 at 10:10 am

            The day is coming when the public schools are really just welfare schools where only the poorest kids get the most tenuous form of “education.” It is really a shame that Democrats are destroying public education. Any educated parent knows that public schools are a failure and is moving their children out of the public school system. Those religious and private schools that you disdain are going to produce the majority of the productive members of society.

      • 2021-08-12 at 4:07 pm

        Go full on commissar Iam! We can have you marching around school with riding boots (very fashionable) Sam Brown gear and a riding crop. You can make life and death decisions over those perceived to not be pure enough in political thought. Teachers, staff, students all living in fear for saying the wrong thing. Iam would be soooo totally down with that.

        Better yet, go full Khmer Rouge. Have the staff and students lined up, and just have young kids point out the counterrevolutionaries.

        • 2021-08-12 at 4:55 pm

          You seem to have a tenuous grasp of the Constitution.

          • 2021-08-13 at 10:03 am

            Nah, my “grasp” is pretty ok, nothing special, really. But the SCOTUS, well they’re the experts on the matter.

            Please don’t ever forget that my CONSTITUTIONALLY GUARANTEED RIGHTS don’t cease to exist at your feelings. No matter how much you wish it were the case.

  • 2021-08-12 at 11:45 am

    Since you won’t change the bias in the articles, just change the byline.

    Policy 8040 will be found an unconstitutional infringement on freedom of speech. Several courts have already ruled that the state cannot compel speech even in schools.

    In the end, the state and the county schools will fight this and pay a fortune to lose in court. The process will drive good teachers away from schools and the students will suffer under these insane policies pushed by a school board that has lost all perspective and reason.

    Take your children out of the public schools and save them the heartache and grief.

    • 2021-08-12 at 1:05 pm

      @Jonathan – would calling a black child the N word be protected under this view? How about calling Muslim kids “haji’s?” Would calling a red hat MAGA kid an in-bred hick be acceptable? Just defining the rules.

      • 2021-08-12 at 3:50 pm

        When I was a boy, I was in the first desegregated classes in the state. My class had a single black child and he sat next to me. I’ll call him “Andrew” and he and I would play football and marbles at recess, pass notes during class and act out a bit like all young boys are prone to do. He was my friend.

        One day, the teacher asked me to stay after school for a moment. As I stood there at her desk, she looked at me sternly and told me, “You’ll never get anywhere associating with n*****s.” I was confused and stunned because it took me a moment to realize what she was saying. In the several months I had known “Andrew” I had only seen him as a friend and classmate. I was stunned that anyone would refer to him like that. I despised that teacher after that encounter.

        Your posts indicate an obsessive, incoherent, irrational, illogical, hateful tone and are are frankly often barely literate. That’s what Democrats like to call “tolerance.” I assume you, like my former school teacher, and most of the current school board, are a Democrat. The racism, bigotry and hatred in Loudoun stems from Democrats like you. The county needs to reject Democrat bigotry and insanity and educate our children.

      • 2021-08-12 at 5:31 pm

        Youarewhatyouare. It boils down to whether being trans is a choice, since there is no debate as to race.

        I personally believe sexual preference is not a choice. I’m still on the fence regarding gender identity.

        • 2021-08-13 at 10:31 am

          Fine, but YOUR personal beliefs are irrelevant. What is relevant in a Constitutional Democracy is
          equal treatment under the law…for all. Even people who do not believe like you.

    • 2021-08-12 at 1:55 pm

      The best part of the possible court battle is that the hater’s tax dollars will be used to defend what they hate.

  • 2021-08-12 at 4:58 pm

    The LCSB had no choice but to comply with State Law. And tell me, what is the horror in accommodating the beliefs and choices of others? Why does one side always attempt to dictate that they are the wholesome, God-fearing ones while disparaging any who disagree with them? Good teachers are the ones who respect and protect their kids, ALL of them. Closet racists and bigots are no loss to education. The 1950s and 1950s are over hard-right folks, the White Utopia is ending, and guess what, other humans want respect and opportunity. I know that is a very hard pill for a lot of hardliner partisans and Trump Acolytes to swallow.

    • 2021-08-13 at 2:14 pm

      The school board actually had discretion on how to comply with state law.
      It chose an extremist policy that endangers girls and undermines girls athletic opportunities.
      Calling others racists and bigots, hard right folks, Trump acolytes, white utopians, etc, exposes your radical left wing intolerance.

      • 2021-08-14 at 11:17 am

        But outrage when someone you don’t apparently understand, a transgender person wants to have equal rights somehow makes you a saint? Sorry but all I see here are shades of how African-Americans, gays, and now trans people have been treate dby the righteous majority in this nation for many years.

        The only intolerance I see is your need to discriminate against transgender citizens.

  • 2021-08-13 at 10:56 am

    One point of concern for any normal parent can be found on the LCPS FAQ page regarding this mandate: LCPS has no obligation to inform you as a parent that your child is changing his or her gender at school. A parent of a minor has full legal authority over decisions regarding his or her child, regardless of in loco parentis, when it comes to the mental and physical well-being of the child. This is why you can opt your child out of Family Life if you so desire. LCPS has decided that they will allow your child to make life-altering decisions without parental permission or knowledge. “If a student is not ready or able to safely share with their family about their gender identity, this should be respected.” “Safely” can be defined so broadly and interpreted so loosely by a student that “My parents might not agree with this” can be all it takes. In normal families, if a child is about to make a decision that his or her parents are not going to support, it’s always the wrong decision. That’s exactly why humans have forethought.

  • 2021-08-13 at 3:04 pm

    I used to consider myself a Democrat, however, the only person on the school board who has articulated my own opinions throughout this entire circus has been Jeff Morse. While I don’t agree with everything he stated on Wednesday, I agree with 98% of it, most notably his comments relating to his discomfort over voting for a policy that specifically excludes parents. He is absolutely spot on, and his concerns are the very reason I pulled my kids from LCPS into private school years ago.

    While I am not a spiteful person, I do truly hope someday all of you parents who believe parental consent is a ‘non-issue’ face the awakening misfortune of learning of a serious issue that involves YOUR child, which you were not made aware of at the time it happened. When this occurs (and trust me it will to many of you), then perhaps you’ll reset your priorities to lobby against policies that give LCPS free rein to WORK AGAINST RATHER THAN WITH PARENTS. You are being completely naive if you believe that just because someone is a teacher and/or works for LCPS, they are qualified to give your child life guidance that is somehow superior to your own.

    If you all only knew….

    • 2021-08-14 at 11:19 am

      My suggestion is to live with the law and awaits the results. If we have waves of assaults and danger in our schools due to the policy obviously it was handled poorly. But the only real danger I see in schools lately has come from boys and men with guns and a grudge. Yet I hardly hear a peep about the actual danger from the right given their fantasy about firearms.

      • 2021-08-16 at 12:36 pm

        Fairmont, I agree with part of your statement. As I’ve mentioned, I am hardly “on the right” and am also a strong supporter of stricter gun controls, however, I’m also absolutely certain I am not the lone “lefty” unicorn in this county who is inconsolably irate over the amount of time and energy this horribly written and virtually inexecutable policy has consumed, taking precious hours and resources away from more important issues such as COVID learning loss, school safety, and addressing academic inequalities. I speak to my like-minded neighbors every single day — moderates who have absolutely no idea how Loudoun County school bathrooms and pronouns became front-page fodder for every media outlet in America. There was a simplified solution to all of this — forget pronouns and use preferred names and repurpose a few (not all) of the bathrooms and locker room space as “gender neutral.” But of course, in typical LCPS tyrannical fashion, any compromise or “fine tuning” of this policy was deemed inacceptable.

        However, I would caution against a “wait and see” approach as this will only enable special interest even further and contribute to ongoing divisiveness. My own family have experienced and watched the disintegration of academic-based priorities from the LPCS agenda for quite some time now (15+ years). While we had the means to send our youngest to private school, I am empathetic to those who feel similarly betrayed by LCPS as I once did, but don’t have another option for their children. That’s the reason why that I continue to write to our school board members, even though I no longer have a dog in this fight.

  • 2021-08-13 at 8:58 pm

    Outrageous behavior by elected members of the school board.

    They should all resign in disgrace, but instead are hailed by the vocal minority as enlighten.

    I wonder what would happen if all the boys in Loudoun County told their teachers on Day One that they identify as female and use the girls bathroom full time.

    I wonder what would happen if all the boys in Loudoun announce they now identify as girls and join all the girls teams this fall.

  • 2021-08-15 at 11:25 am

    Remember not to mention you live in the Loudoun county school district when you try and sell your homes.

    • 2021-08-16 at 1:02 pm

      Man, you are right! Housing prices are in the crapper in Loudoun. Oh wait…

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