Alexandria’s interim superintendent says that Governor Glenn Youngkin’s proposed new policies restricting transgender bathroom and pronoun use won’t be a distraction as the school system plans to continue its “gender-affirming policies.”
“We just want to make sure that we let our community know that we’re continuing our commitment to both implement and develop gender affirming policies for all ACPS students,” interim Superintendent Melanie Kay-Wyatt told the School Board on Thursday night (September 22).
The Virginia Department of Education’s new policy adjustments go into effect on October 27, after the end of the 30-day public comment period.
While students are not required to wear gender-neutral clothes, the new rules state:
- School division employees must refer to students with the pronouns “appropriate to the sex appearing in the student’s official record”
- “The appropriate participation” in school programs separated by sex
- Overnight travel accommodations, locker rooms, and other intimate spaces used for school-related activities and events shall be based on sex
- Students shall use bathrooms that correspond to his or her sex, except to the extent that federal law otherwise requires
- Single-user bathrooms and facilities should be made available in accessible areas and provided with appropriate signage, indicating accessibility for all students
Kay-Wyatt said that the legislation will not be a distraction for the school system.
“This will not be a distraction from our priorities of the work for all of our kids,” Kay-Wyatt said. “And I’m going to say that again, because it seems that some comments were directed that we’re going to make this a priority and make everything else a distraction. We have our core priorities. We will continue to focus on making sure we do what’s best for all children.”
The revised legislation was announced earlier this week, and created a firestorm of criticism throughout Alexandria. Mayor Justin Wilson tweeted that the school system will uphold its existing policies regarding transgender students, and School Board Chair Meagan Alderton and Kay-Wyatt wrote a joint letter reaffirming the school system’s position.
“As a School Board and division, we are concerned with these ‘model policies’ that do not align with our mission, vision and core values to support all students and staff, in particular our core value of ensuring that we provide a welcoming environment for everyone in our school community,” the letter said.
Kay-Wyatt said that parents can reach out to their school administrations with questions, or email [email protected] for updates.
Today @ACPSk12 leadership provided an update to our community.
They will continue to implement existing policies that support our students, affirm their identity, protect their safety AND comply with the Code of Virginia.
I stand with ACPS and with the students they serve. pic.twitter.com/UT4mLvFUaU
— Justin Wilson (@justindotnet) September 19, 2022
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