- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The majority of Fairfax County School Board members who approved a nondiscrimination policy to include “gender identity” without consulting parents won re-election Tuesday, despite many parents calling on voters to oust the panel over the controversial policy.

Eight of the ten board members who voted for the transgender-inclusive policy change were reelected, including at-large member Ryan McElveen, who spearheaded the policy change initiative.

Ted Velkoff was the only board member who approved the policy to be defeated Tuesday. He lost to Jeanette Hough, a parent who decided to run for the education panel because of the policy change controversy.

“I am so thankful for the slate of School Board candidates with whom I had the honor of running,” Ms. Hough told The Washington Times in an email. “Together, we knocked [on] tens of thousands of doors and went to many events listening to the concerns of the community. I look forward to continuing that engagement as I serve as a School Board member At-Large with the intent of being a voice for the whole community and ensuring fiscal responsibility.”

Tom Wilson, another candidate who ran against the gender identity policy change, defeated Kathy Smith to take over the Sully district seat. 

Elizabeth Schultz, the only board member to vote against the gender identity policy in May, ran unopposed. 

Ms. Hough, Ms. Schultz and Mr. Wilson are now the only Republicans on the 10-member board.

Board member Patty Reed, who had abstained from the policy change vote but supported Ms. Schultz’s amendment to delay the measure, was defeated by Dalia Palchik, who supports the amended policy.

“I’m very, very sorry to lose Patty Reed, who I think is a very reasonable and representative voice, not only for her district but for residents across the county,” Ms. Schultz told The Times.

Although the school board retained its Democratic majority, Ms. Schultz said the fact that Republicans were able to pick up two seats, including one at-large seat, demonstrates that voters are ready for change.

“People are not happy with the school board, and we do need to endeavor to get back to the business of the people,” she said.

The results of Tuesday’s election likely ensure that the new nondiscrimination policy and any curriculum implemented to accommodate transgender students and staff will not be repealed. The policy change could allow male students who identify as female to use girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms, among other changes.

Late last month parents discovered that school administrators already had begun implementing the amended policy before the school board approved it in a vote in May.

Several emails and documents obtained by parents through Freedom of Information Act requests filed by Judicial Watch showed that administrators had hired a consultant to advise them on “best practices” for implementing the new policy before the May 7 vote.

In addition, the cache of documents shows that the school system had been paying the consultant — Jeffrey Poirier, a researcher on LGBT youth at the American Institutes for Research — with taxpayer funds without a written contract.

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