Pieces of lawsuit against Harrisonburg City Schools dismissed

In his opinion, Baugher dismissed the parents’ claims but upheld the teachers’ claims.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 4:02 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Pieces of a lawsuit against the Harrisonburg City School Board have been dismissed.

The lawsuit, Deborah Figliola et al. v. The School Board of the City of Harrisonburg, VA, et al., is in regards to model policies regarding the treatment of transgender and non-binary students in school.

Rockingham County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Baugher issued the opinion on Dec. 2, 2022 after the Defendants’ Demurrer and Plea was issued Nov. 1.

The lawsuit was filed in June by a group of six parents and teachers. In his opinion, Baugher dismissed the parents’ claims but upheld the teachers’ claims.

Teacher plaintiffs said the policies violate their right to freedom of speech, it unconstitutionally discriminates against them based on their viewpoint, violates their freedom of religion under the Virginia Constitution and violates freedom of religion under the statutory Virginia code.

The teachers draw issue with not only being required to use a students preferred names, but also with withholding that information from parents.

Parent plaintiffs had similar arguments, saying their due process rights regarding “care, custody, and control of their children” is violated by the policies. They also said their right to exercise free religion is violated.

In their Demurrer and Plea, the Defendants said Plaintiffs “lack standing because they have not alleged an actual injury,” and that Plaintiffs haven’t presented sufficient facts to support claims.

Baugher concludes the teachers sufficiently argue their case but the parents didn’t.

The group also made complaints about Dr. Michael Richards, Harrisonburg City Schools Superintendent.

“The Complaint alleges that the ‘School Board has final policymaking and decisionmaking (sic) authority for rules, regulations and decisions that govern HCPS,’ including the practices challenged in this action.”

Those claims were dismissed because “they are redundant with Plaintiffs’ claims against the school board.”

Baugher also dismissed the motion for temporary injunction, saying the Plaintiffs did not prove they will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction is not entered now. It goes on to say, right now, teachers and staff will not face disciplinary measures if they do not use a student’s preferred name or pronoun or for sharing (or not sharing) that information with parents, the opinion said.

For more on the lawsuit click the link below:

Harrisonburg Schools face lawsuit over gender identity policy