Hundreds gather at Rockingham County School Board meeting to discuss transgender bathroom policy

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 9:18 PM EDT
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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - While it was not on Monday night’s agenda, hundreds gathered at the Rockingham County Administrative Center to tell the Rockingham County School Board how they felt about a policy update that would allow transgender students to use the bathroom aligning with their gender identity.

Starting this school year, all public schools in Virginia must take new steps to prevent discrimination based on gender identity.

Both residents for and against were present at the meeting like Ashley Saunders, a Rockingham County resident and parent who held signs outside the administrative center supporting the policy update for students.

“We had heard there were groups of people coming to just oppose the transgender policies that are being passed by the Virginia Department of Education and we wanted to show up to say we support these policies, we support these kids, and we believe trans rights are human rights,” Saunders said.

Those against the policy update like David Burrell held a prayer outside the administrative center for the board members. He said he knew the board was not discussing the policy Monday night but wanted to pray for each member as they continue to discuss the topic.

“I’m afraid and one of my fearful things is what this opens the door for, I understand folks feel this way, I know they’re passionate about it on both sides but I think we outta get back to our Christian morals and Christian values,” Burrell said.

Dr. Oskar Scheikl, division superintendent, said this is a policy update school divisions across the Commonwealth are talking about and comes after a law that was passed in the General Assembly.

Scheikl said while the policy update is not discussed Monday night, it will be in August.

“The U.S Department of Education has released new Title IX guidance again all of those things come into play and so we’re carefully reviewing that with legal counsel and then in August on what policies if any need to change,” Scheikl said.

Scheikl says one of the biggest misconceptions is that the policy change allows any student to go to any restroom. He said it’s actually for students who consistently assert their gender identity.

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