Equality Virginia Disappointed with Gloucester County School Board Vote on Discriminatory Policy

Contact: Kirsten Bokenkamp, [email protected], 804-643-4816 On December 9, the Gloucester County School Board voted for a policy that will allow for blatant discrimination against transgender students. Below is a response from James Parrish, executive director with Equality Virginia. December 9, 2014 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - “Equality Virginia is disappointed that the Gloucester County School Board voted on a policy that not only discriminates against transgender students, but one that we believe to be illegal under Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972. With this vote, the school board has failed to ensure that all students in Gloucester County Public Schools have equal access to public accommodations, including restrooms, locker rooms, or changing facilities, upon the basis of their gender identity. Equality Virginia provided resources and best practices to the school board on November 11 – well in advance of this vote - and it is unfortunate that they failed to take seriously the impact that this policy can have on transgender students as well as the whole student body. Our schools should be creating caring, respectful, and diverse environments, and this policy does the opposite. Equality Virginia held a public meeting on December 2 in Gloucester to educate community members about this important issue, and we will continue to educate teachers, parents, and community members, as well as state level leaders, until all transgender students in Virginia are protected at school. This issue is not isolated to Gloucester - there are transgender students living in all parts of the state, and attending most public schools. To ensure that all of Virginia’s students are protected regardless of where they attend school, the Commonwealth of Virginia needs to provide clear and uniform guidance to all Virginia public schools. Currently, the patchwork of different policies across Virginia is confusing and leaves many transgender students without protections that may be offered in another district or school.”