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Augusta County School Board’s refusal to enact state policy could lead to legal action, attorneys say

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 5:21 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Thursday’s Augusta County School Board meeting consisted of heated debate and controversial decisions.

Crowds gathered at the Augusta County School Board meeting on July 29 to discuss policy updates...
Crowds gathered at the Augusta County School Board meeting on July 29 to discuss policy updates from the state.(WHSV)

The conversations were about state policies born out of a circuit court decision. The policies say schools should allow students to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.

School boards are required by state law to enact the policies for the 2021-22 school year. However, the Augusta County School Board unanimously voted to fail the policy update.

Experts say not enacting the policy is violating established law.

“The state implemented a policy consistent with what is now federal law,” said David Heilberg, a Charlottesville Attorney.

If the school board doesn’t implement the policy soon, Heilberg said they could face lawsuits from students and guardians. If that were the case, he said it would fall to taxpayers, since it would be a civil rights lawsuit.

“Taxpayers will have to pay all the legal expenses,” he said. He said lawsuits aren’t usually budgeted for, and some experts said schools may face budget cuts.

Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction said any school board that doesn’t comply with the policies will assume all legal responsibility.

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