ACPS responds to state changes

ACPS responds to state changes
Opponents to the newly proposed policies argue that politics should not be forced upon children in educational settings (File photo)

By Kassidy McDonald

Alexandria City Public Schools responded to a proposal by Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA), that included new model policies.

According to the Viginia Department of Education’s 2022 Model Policies in Viginia’s Public Schools, “For any athletic program or activity that is separated by sex, the appropriate participation of students shall be determined by sex; Students shall use bathrooms that correspond to his or her sex; Overnight travel accommodations, locker rooms and other intimate spaces used for school-related activities and events shall be based on sex; For any school program, event, or activity, including extracurricular activities that are separated by sex, the appropriate participation of students shall be determined by sex; [School Division] personnel shall refer to each student using only the pronouns appropriate to the sex appearing in the student’s official record – that is, male pronouns for a student whose legal sex is male, and female pronouns for a student whose legal sex is female; where ‘sex’ means biological sex.”

The guidance will now go through a 30-day public comment period, after which VDOE will sift through comments and submit a final version approved by Jillian Balow, the state’s superintendent.

If approved, transgender students in Virginia school districts will only use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their assigned sex at birth, and only participate on athletic teams associated with their assigned sex at birth. Pronouns used by transgender students in the classroom would align with the student’s sex at birth rather than their gender identity.

The Virginia Department of Education says the basis for these new rules is to support the rights of parents to determine their child’s exposure to LGBTQ issues, according to NPR.

ACPS responded to Youngkin’s proposal by sending a letter to the ACPS community vowing their commitment to gender-affirming policies within their school system.

“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 reads.

School Board Member Ashley Simpson Baird changed her Twitter profile picture to an image of a transgender button which says, “ACPS PROTECTS TRANS KIDS.” She also tweeted a link to a WUSA9 news story with the caption, “Trans kids: We see you. You are safe with us.”

At the end of the letter sent out to families, ACPS listed resources for students and families who may be affected by the recent announcement of the policies. To reach CrisisText text: CONNECT to 85511. To call CrisisLink dial: 703-527- 4077.