The cultural battle over opening bathrooms to people based on their gender identity rather than their biological sex has reached one of the largest school districts in the nation and is playing out just outside the nation’s capital.
The school board in Fairfax County, Virginia, is now considering a policy change to accommodate students and teachers who consider themselves transgendered.
“It’s a ludicrous request,” said Meeke Addison, director of Urban Family Talk, which is a division of the American Family Association. The AFA sent out an action alert earlier this week to alert parents in Fairfax County of the possible change.
“This decision would effect from preschoolers right on up to senior year, kids during their formative years being exposed to what would be considered an alternative way of expressing yourself,” said Addison.
In addition to the transgender accommodations, the policy would also forbid parents in the district to opt their children out of complying with the rules.
“This ‘no opt out clause’ is incredibly disturbing,” said Addison.
“Do public teaching institutions have the right to usurp authority of parents and teach children things that will go counter to that household’s convictions. Do they have the right to do that? Wherever you fall on the transgender or homosexual debate, it doesn’t really matter. The question is do public school systems have the right to usurp a parent’s authority?” asked Addison.
Addison says this type of “indoctrination” is not the point of public schools and her kids should not be pawns in a cultural agenda.
“I expect them to come home reciting their times tables. I expect them to come home making their subjects and their verbs agree. I do not expect them to come home telling me about their teacher or a classmate who wants to use the men’s bathroom because they decided they are not who they were originally created to be,” said Addison.
The issue grates at Addison on a moral level but especially irritates her as a black woman as she watches parallels made between this debate and the civil-rights movement.
“As an African-American, so often when we get caught up in this discussion, we believe that we are talking about immutable characteristics, we are talking about the way a person was or was not born,” said Addison, who says race and sexual identity or orientation are not at all similar.
“Science shows we are not talking about immutable characteristics. We are talking about choice. When we begin to allow choice and preference to trump immutability, then we have a problem. Not only do we have a slippery slope but I would say we don’t have a slope at all. We’re just careening to destruction,” she said.
So how should school districts deal with students who sincerely struggle with their gender? Addison says they should be treated with dignity, but so should every other student.
“Something like that has to be dealt with on a case by case basis with sensitivity to that child and sensitivity to that child’s parents. But whatever sensitivity you extend to that child, whatever accommodations you make for that child should be made for all children,” said Addison.
Fairfax County is an increasingly liberal part of northern Virginia and it is yet to be seen how parents are coming down on the issue there.
Regardless of the political leanings of the district, Addison says all parents should be worried about this kind of proposal.
“For people who feel this is no big deal, the question is when will it become a big deal? When it’s something you don’t like? When it’ something that’s not part of your core convictions?” she asked.
Parents have already had one chance to address the issue with the Fairfax County School Board. They have one more chance May 7.
Addison urges parents to fight all the way.
“I’m not ready to say let’s put the nail in the coffin for parental rights. You have a right to parent your child and I’m not ready to give that up. I’m not ready to call the fight over. It’ll happen in Fairfax County. It can happen in Lee County. It can happen wherever you are in your school if parents do not stand up for their very basic right,” said Addison.