- The Washington Times - Monday, September 5, 2016

Parents whose children attend Fairfax County Public Schools are preparing to fight transgender policies and educational courses when the academic year begins Tuesday.

The group Concerned Parents and Educators of Fairfax County last week released a 13-page package advising parents on how their children can avoid gender identity education.

“How is it that a tiny minority of boys who are uncomfortable in the boys’ bathroom now have the right to make a majority of girls uncomfortable in the girls’ bathroom? (or vice versa),” the group says. “Are some ‘more equal’ than others? This is an un-American assault on the rights of all students.”

The information packet encourages parents to decline to sign the Student Rights and Responsibility form and opt out of health lessons on gender identity, family life education and an explicit youth sex survey.

In May 2015, Fairfax County’s school board passed an amendment to Policy 1450 in a 10-1 vote that added transgender people to those protected against discrimination.

After a closed-door meeting, the board released regulations in July outlining the protection of transgender students’ rights to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. Shortly thereafter, the regulations were abruptly suspended.

“The board determined it needs additional time to evaluate the legal issues surrounding the regulation,” said John Torre, information officer for Fairfax County Public Schools. “While the regulation is temporarily on hold, Policy 1450 remains in effect, and the board remains committed to this policy of nondiscrimination.”

Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit legal advocacy group, went before the Virginia Supreme Court on Wednesday to seek review of school board policy regulations. The organization says the school board’s actions directly violate the Dillon Rule, which limits local governing bodies from adopting policy when a state statute doesn’t precede it.

“This case has strong statewide importance and national implications,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. “We have a strong feeling that the Virginia Supreme Court will accept this review in the coming weeks.”

Transgender advocates have been set back several times recently.

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Obama administration’s transgender bathroom mandate Aug. 22, saying Title IX “is not ambiguous” about sex being defined as “the biological and anatomical differences between male and female students as determined at their birth.”

This was a major victory for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who leads a coalition of 13 states challenging the mandate. Mr. Paxton argues that Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in public schools, doesn’t give transgender students the right to choose a boys’ or girls’ bathroom.

The temporary injunction applies to schools nationwide.

Days before Mr. Paxton’s victory over the Obama administration, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia can prevent transgender student Gavin Grimm from using the boys’ bathroom while the court decides whether it will intervene in his case.

The Virginia student, who was born female but identifies as male, originally was allowed to use the boys’ bathroom. After receiving a complaint, however, the school board blocked Gavin from using a bathroom that didn’t coincide with his gender at birth.

Gavin’s parents helped him file a lawsuit against the school board last year. After a series of court battles and appeals, Gavin’s case lies in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Gloucester County School Board filed its own petition with the court Aug. 29 asking the justices to resolve the issue “once and for all.”

Robert Rigby, president of FCPS Pride, predicts that the Supreme Court will rule in Gavin’s favor, granting equality for transgender people nationwide.

“Some parents imagine that some children will take advantage of these policies for bad action, but the reality is no one with that in mind is willing to go through the process of pretending to be trans just to gain access,” Mr. Rigby said. “I’ve spoken with school systems in New York, Los Angeles and Massachusetts, which have had these policies and regulations for years. They report zero increase in harmful action as a result. Zero.”

But for concerned parents in Fairfax County, the goal is to prevent the school board’s transgender policy from affecting their children’s education.

Fairfax County will hold its first school board meeting of the year Thursday at Luther Jackson Middle School. Concerned Parents and Educators of Fairfax County plans to protest peacefully outside the meeting.

“As parents and taxpaying citizens, we must rein in this out-of-touch, out-of-control school board,” the group says.

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