A crowd of nearly 500 parents, school board members, and concerned citizens gathered Thursday evening in Russell County, Virginia for a public hearing to denounce a new policy concerning transgender students.
The school board took a 7-0 vote rejecting the transgender model policy passed down by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), according to The Family Foundation.
— The Family Foundation (@TFFVA) July 16, 2021
Under the new policy, transgender students would be allowed to use a name or gender that relates to their preferred gender identity. They would also have access to restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.
Board members emphasized that they are committed to protecting all students and that they believe the school district does comply with federal anti-discrimination laws.
"School boards have a primary ethical and legal duty to protect and respect the privacy, safety, and conscience of every child within the school setting, as well as the fundamental constitutionally-guaranteed rights of parents, teachers, and staff," said Josh Hetzler, legal counsel for Founding Freedoms Law Center.
Dr. Todd Gathje, Family Foundation's director of government relations also stated that "at the end of the day, regardless of what the VDOE provides as guidance, school boards have a primary duty to protect the safety and security of the students under their care" and to safeguard the "ability of parents to protect their children and not have their parental rights violated."
The board also voted against critical race theory being taught in schools.
Candi Cushman, vice president of grassroots and communications strategies at The Family Foundation remarked that the meeting sent a powerful message to others about taking a stand against transgender policies.
"With these actions, the Russell County School Board set an empowering example for school board members across the state who feel pressured against their will to adopt the state government agency's radical transgender-issue policy and other curriculum recommendations," she said. "This is one of the first school boards to send this strong, unequivocal message that they will not compromise when it comes to protecting all kids and respecting parental rights."
WATCH the full school board meeting below:
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