The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

ACPS Not to Comply with Youngkin’s Anti-Transgender Policy

A+photo+collage+of+Republican+Governor+Glenn+Youngkin%2C+on+the+left%2C+and+Interim+Superintendent+Dr.+Melanie+Kay-Wyatt+%28right%29.

ACPS has announced it will not comply with a new statewide model school board policy issued by the Virginia Department of Education on Friday, September 16 that aimed to roll back transgender rights for students. 

The policy, written under the direction of Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, requires staff to use the legal names and pronouns of students regardless of their preference, with the only exception being if parents provide legal documents proving their child’s “change of sex”. The policy targets transgender students, as it aims to prevent teachers from using a student’s preferred name and pronouns resulting in deadnaming and misgendering. The policy also mandates that transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their legal sex and not their gender identity.

Additionally, the policy extends parents’ control in school systems. It states, “Parents must be informed and given an opportunity to object before counseling services pertaining to gender are given,” while requiring teachers to relinquish any information about students’ gender identity to parents.

On Tuesday, September 20, ACPS Interim-Superintendent Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt and School Board Chair Meagan Alderton released a statement to students, staff, and parents saying, “[ACPS] will continue its commitment to both implement and develop gender-affirming policies for all ACPS students,” and that “[the model policies] do not align with our mission, vision and core values to support all students and staff.” The statement also said the policies “seek to undermine” the “vital work” of the ACPS Equity for All 2025 Strategic Plan, and ACPS will continue to reference the original model school board policies they enacted in 2020 following the ratification of a state law.

The state law, originally passed under former Democratic Governor Ralph Northam’s administration to protect transgender students, requires the Virginia Department of Education to “develop… model policies concerning the treatment of transgender students” and for school boards to adopt policies that are “consistent with” the model ones. 

According to Alexandria Legislative Director Sarah Taylor, that law also applies to the new model policies but “does not include a penalty for noncompliance.” She said, “Should school districts be noncompliant with the model policy as it moves forward, they would technically be in violation of the law, but there’s no penalty in the original law that could be held against them.”

Taylor added, “The Attorney General can always prosecute a non-compliance with the law, but it would be unclear what the penalty would be, because there isn’t anything in the original legislation.” Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares did not immediately respond to Theogony’s request for comment on whether he plans to pursue charges.

Additionally, Taylor said that Youngkin could “decide to mess around with funding for school districts that are not compliant… He could say, ‘Well, any school district that isn’t in compliance with this policy is going to have their state education funding withheld,’… [which] would require the state legislature to do that in the budgeting process.” Citing Democratic majority in the state legislature, Taylor added that it would be “unlikely” that the legislature would withhold funds. A spokeswoman for Governor Youngkin’s administration declined Theogony’s request for comment.

Read more of Theogony's coverage of the anti-transgender movement by clicking the image below.

Photos courtesy of AP Photo/Steve Helber & ALXNow/James Cullum

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