by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Virginia parents are holding a rally on Thursday to oppose a Fairfax County School Board vote on proposed handbook changes that could suspend students as young as fourth grade for “malicious misgendering.”
Fairfax County Public Schools would reserve the right to suspend for a week students who engage in “malicious deadnaming” or use slurs based on “gender identity,” “gender expression,” and “sexual orientation,” according to a copy of its new Student Rights and Responsibilities handbook. Parents opposed to the measure will speak out against the handbook proposals in front of the elementary school where the school board will meet to vote on Thursday evening. Many say they are motivated by a desire to put their child’s education first, rather than “gender politics.”
The “school board is prioritizing these types of initiatives versus focusing on what parents would expect: recovering from learning loss, home/virtual schooling, and getting our kids back into the classroom, post-COVID,” Jeff Hoffman, a Fairfax County father of three, told the Washington Free Beacon.
The vote is the latest political scuffle that has pitted parents against the heavy-handed tactics of public school officials. Led by teachers’ unions and left-wing activist groups, school boards across the nation have implemented policies to encourage the expression of sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom, often without parental consent. The Free Beacon reported in March on a New Jersey public middle school that forced students to watch a video about hormone treatment, without notifying parents beforehand. Other parents told the Free Beacon their child “socially transitioned” to another gender at school without their knowledge.
The new handbook also represents the lasting influence of the 2020 Supreme Court case Bostock v. Clayton County, which expanded the definition of the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against sex discrimination to include “gender identity” and “sexual orientation.”