Virginia Beach School Board changes policies for transgender students in step toward those outlined by Gov. Youngkin
The Virginia Beach School Board voted this week to change parts of its policies that deal with non-discrimination and school identification of transgender students.
The changes are in line with guidance from Gov. Glenn Youngkin that favors the role of parents on the topic.
The board last month opted not to adopt those policies as a whole.
That led school system officials to instead start reviewing each section of Virginia Beach's own regulations to determine what has to change to comply with the state, staff said in documents.
The first change approved by the board Tuesday simply removed a reference to state policy.
The second carries more weight. It requires Virginia Beach students under 18 to get parental consent to be identified as transgender in school records.
Board members also discussed possible further changes during a workshop discussion this week, including requiring students to get permission from their parents to be called by any other name than what's in their official records, and restricting student activities like physical education classes to their identity in official records.
Incremental changes to the school system’s transgender policies over the past few months have drawn intense debate at every turn. Many students show up to each School Board meeting pleading with members not to adopt Youngkin’s model policies.
AJ Quartaro, a junior at Kellam High School who identifies as non-binary, said last month that they are stressed at the beginning of each school year about being called by their dead name that’s listed in school records.
“In the perfect world, we would all be equal and I would understand how school is for a normal person, but unfortunately that’s never going to happen,” Quartaro said at a board meeting in August.
Earlier this year, the board had adopted a resolution reaffirming non-discrimination for queer students, after students protested outside a board meeting.
Board and school leaders are now expected to continue working through the state’s model policies by focusing on a few specific aspects at a time.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that students now require parental consent to be called nicknames outside official records. The board discussed that possible regulation but has not yet voted on it.
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