HANOVER COUNTY, Va. – Hanover County School Board voted 5-2 to approve new bathroom policy for transgender and non-binary students.
The new policy had transgender and non-binary students apply to the school board for permission to use the bathroom or other locker room. For bathrooms, this application will include a mandatory requirement along with other optional documents.
The school board may request a student statement, a parent’s statement, a written statement signed by a physician or counselor, disciplinary and criminal records, and information regarding rights. privacy of other students.
Those with previous permission will not have to re-register.
The policy was presented by the school board earlier this month after it was introduced in a year and a half of closed sessions. The council said the policy was primarily put forward by the Alliance for Defense of Freedom (ADF) with which it has been consulting.
New policy passed together after a lawsuit and the district has no specific policy to protect transgender students despite Virginia law that went into effect last summer requiring school districts to adopt state policies. Those policies state schools cannot use methods that might cause students to meet with parents or question how they were identified.
The new policy has been a hotly discussed topic, with community members speaking out on both sides of the topic. During an August 16 meeting, an unruly spectator nearly forced the school board to clean the room during their meeting.
During that meeting, parents concerned about the policy argued that the policy was unfair and that it punished students by making them jump through hoops, criminally handling them, and removing them.
“We are very disappointed. We are looking forward to the results we get tonight,” said one person who attended the meeting.
“Who are you to decide if someone is transgender enough that using the bathroom will keep them safe?” said another attendee.
On the other hand, advocates of the policy commend the school board for creating a policy that they believe protects all children.
“I support this decision. I feel it includes parental rights,” said another attendee.
“I think what we see tonight is an effort to make sure that every student is protected,” said another community member.
Ahead of the final vote, school board member Robert Hundley asked the council to add an amendment to remove part of the policy by which the board could request criminal records.
This was voted down.
The newly approved policy will take effect from this point forward.
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