ACLU of Virginia praises Fairfax County School Board vote to make its schools discrimination-free zones

acluThe American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia today praised the Fairfax County School Board’s vote to pass Policy 1450.6 that will add “gender identity” to the categories of prohibited discrimination. This decision comes after the ACLU of Virginia sent a letter to the Fairfax County School Board urging this policy update.

In the letter to the School Board, Rebecca Glenberg, Legal Director, said: “In Virginia and elsewhere, opposition to nondiscrimination policies has been based on unfounded fears, stereotypes, and a misunderstanding about what it means to be transgender. All too often, young people who are struggling to navigate the difficult years of adolescence are treated as objects of fear and derision. [The School Board] should not allow the voices of unreason to dehumanize any of its students, and should instead ensure equal access to education for all children.”

“The Board’s vote to amend its policy as we urged will provide much-needed protection to a class of students who are particularly vulnerable to harassment and other forms of discrimination and will help bring Fairfax County Public Schools into compliance with federal law,” said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, Executive Director of the ACLU of Virginia. “The revised nondiscrimination policy will provide additional protection for all students and staff, and will make this school division a model for school divisions across the Commonwealth.”

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring recently affirmed that Virginia school boards have the legal authority to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. According to the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Education, as recipients of federal financial aid, all Virginia school boards must do so.

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