BG Transgender Rally - AE

James Van Kuilenburg, leader of the Support FCPS Transgender Students group, leads a rally outside the Frederick County Public Schools hearing room Wednesday evening. The rally took place before the meeting where the Board of Education approved its transgender policy.

A last-minute turnout of opposing residents was not enough to delay a vote on the Frederick County Board of Education’s transgender policy.

The board approved the policy Wednesday evening. In part, the policy allows students to choose which bathroom to use based on the gender with which that student identifies.

It also gives any student who is uncomfortable for any reason using a gender-segregated bathroom the option to use a safe and non-stigmatizing alternative — such as privacy curtains, provisions to use private restrooms or office restrooms, or a separate changing schedule in locker rooms.

The policy also allows transgender students to participate in sports that align with their gender identity. So, a transgender girl could play girls soccer, and a transgender boy could play baseball. The policy also says that students are not required to disclose their gender identity.

Board member April Miller was the lone member to oppose the policy. She said she wanted to delay the vote to make the policy more clear in regards to what information parents had a right to know. She cited a policy that Fairfax County, Virginia, Public Schools is working on as having more comprehensive language.

Board member Joy Schaefer said the policy does not preclude the regulation being worked on by Fairfax County Public Schools.

Before the meeting, transgender student activist James Van Kuilenburg organized a rally of about 50 supporters of the policy outside the Frederick County Public Schools central office building.

Van Kuilenburg, a transgender student at Gov. Thomas Johnson High School, was one of 15 speakers to offer public comment on the policy, though most of the commenters spoke out in opposition.

Dan Cox, a former Republican candidate for Congress, spoke out against the policy, saying the board was putting students at risk.

“You’re exposing every child in this county to potential of sexual abuse,” he said.

Arlin Hatch spoke in opposition to the policy because he said he felt that parents were being shut out of the process, and that the school board was overstepping its boundaries.

“If the school system excludes parents from [the] equation, it would cripple parents’ ability” to intervene and help, said Hatch, whose wife, Veronica, also spoke at the meeting.

Schaefer said it’s the board’s preference for schools to work with parents, and the board hopes they would do so.

County Councilman Tony Chmelik asked the board to delay the vote as well, citing feedback he has received from members of his district.

“What’s the problem with hitting the pause button?” Chmelik asked.

The board expressed that after five policy committee meetings, and three regular full board meetings, it was ready to vote.

“I feel like I’m doing the right thing,” school board member Ken Kerr said in support of the measure.

“We’re not doing [this] because we want to be an activist or because we think it’s fun.”

Student board member Carter Gipson, whose vote does not count, said he had concerns about the policy when it first came up. But throughout the process he has come to support it.

“It’s worth trying,” he said.

Several board members agreed that this process has been a learning experience, and if the policy needs to be amended, it can be.

“Is it perfect? I don’t know,” board President Brad Young said. But the policy can be amended in the future, he added.

Board member Colleen Cusimano was not present at the meeting and, therefore, did not vote.

Follow Allen Etzler on Twitter: @AllenWEtzler.

(14) comments

DickD

How are other students being put at risk, if the transgender student is being honest? Let's say a boy identifies as a girl, in that case would they be more than platonic friends to other girls? Most likely not. Now if a girl wants to be identified as a boy, that could be a danger for the one that is a transgender - but most boys would not be interested - my opinion. A real cause of danger might be if a boy wants to play girl sports and is much stronger than a normal girl.

Whoknows

As if it wasn't enough that the Liberal Left "won" to pass this lame, politically-driven policy to satisfy a chosen few, the one person who voted to oppose it got her windshield busted out the next day. Coincidence? Highly unlikely! The Liberal Left continues to spread their "peace and love" even when they get their way! Amazing!

riccicc

FCPS has violated a sacred trust between schools and parents by withholding this information about their own child. Especially, since the parent still has a legal obligation and responsibility to that child and should know what's going on with that child at all times in and out of school (without the school's interference between parent and child).

JK12

This is completely wrong on numerous levels. But the real ticket here to eliminate this garbage ("oh, I feel like a horse today thus I must be a horse") is to send a polite letter to each school board member, each school official - sent certified mail - informing them you will press criminal charges against each and all if their boneheaded policy is implemented. There are tons of state and federal criminal felony laws, especially when it involves minors, about nudity, sexual exposure and so forth. A very long list in fact. Just one incident and charges can be brought. You file the criminal complaint with the local police and also the county sheriff. Furthermore, you can sue them for violating your child's rights (brought in the name of a child attending one of the schools there) under the same Title XII and IX.

cbarj1969

Politics as usual. This does not help anyone. Wait till all hell breaks loose at the batting cages next year. You're responsible Board of Education.

snowman28

Don't worry, Cindy Rose, the person Frederick County voters told to go away, is going to attempt to sue the school district. A self proclaimed fiscal conservative who is looking forward to wasting County time and money.

Charles_Nelson_Reilly

Typical Orwellian language used by the FC School Board and promoted by the FNP as usual. There is no "Protection" involved here, it's merely language used to make a certain group feel more entitled and give them rights at the expense of those who oppose it.

It would be nice if someone, anyone at the FNP could do some actual research and inform the public 1) what percentage of students in the FC school system identify as Transgender and 2) how many incidents of Transgender phobia on record does the school system have that the FNP that they can share with the public.

Whoknows

Charles, totally agree with you. FNP continues their propaganda-like reporting and FCPS continue to cater to the Left. Such a slippery slope we are on. As I've commented on here before, moral and ethical decline will be the demise of our society.

DickD

Charles, I am perplexed by your statement as how would the FC School Board know in all cases? The individual would have to declare they are transgender and it is likely that would not happen in many cases.

jerseygrl42

how absurd

sbeach9638

All people should be afforded equal rights as long as those rights don't infringe upon the rights of others. This policy has the potential to be fair in most aspects. However, the exception is in sports, especially women's sports. The right to fair play and competition will be compromised to all female athletes should transgender females be allowed to choose the sport that aligns with their gender identity. I am aware that sports in this county is not the end all be all of an FCPS education, but it is huge factor in considering fair and equality to all.

Whoknows

This is not fair to all involved. I would not want to be a straight student at FCPS because in the eyes of FCPS, straight students have NO rights. It's all about the very small percentage of students who are transgender. FCPS is a MAJOR disappointment to the majority of kids who attend their schools. Such an utter disgrace!

snowman28

The majority of students would likely support this policy as they are a far more inclusive and accepting generation than those before them.

Whoknows

Unlikely, snowman, and your key words are "would likely support". Tell that to an 8 y.o. girl who doesn't want a "boy" in the stall next to her, or to the girl in the awkward stages of puberty who now has a "boy" in the stall next to her as she changes her feminine product. What about the feelings, wants, and needs of the majority of kids? WHY are these kids brushed aside and forgotten? All in the name of love, inclusion, and acceptance?

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