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School Board to vote on transgender revisions in Alexandria City Public Schools

The Alexandria School Board on Thursday (September 23) will vote Thursday on a number of policy and regulatory revisions on the treatment of transgender students.

Among the changes are proposals to not segregate extracurricular activities by gender and allowing students to dress according to their gender identity or gender expression. Student athletes would still, sometimes, be segregated.

“Dress expectations should allow students to dress in a manner consistent with their gender identity or gender expression, including attire required for school-related programs, activities and events,” ACPS notes in a staff memo. “An organization may only impose membership qualifications based on sex where based on competitive athletic skill or where the activity involved is a contact sport. However, membership shall not be denied solely on the basis of gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.”

The Board is making the changes to adhere to Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE’s) Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools, since the General Assembly now requires that all public schools in Virginia have inclusive policies regarding transgender students by the fall of 2021.

“Teachers, administrators, and other personnel employed on a full-time basis who support and interact with students are required to complete a mental health awareness training or similar program,” notes an ACPS memo. “In order to promote a positive school climate where all students feel safe and supported, regular education about transgender students will be included in such training.”

The regulatory revisions highlight eight issues, according to ACPS:

  1. Compliance with applicable nondiscrimination laws;
  2. Maintenance of a safe and supportive learning environment free from discrimination and harassment for all students;
  3. Prevention of and response to bullying and harassment;
  4. Maintenance of student records;
  5. Identification of students;
  6. Protection of student privacy and the confidentiality of sensitive information;
  7. Enforcement of sex-based dress codes; and
  8. Student participation in sex-specific school activities and events and use of school facilities. (“Activities and events” do not include athletics.)

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