Russ had previously said that the division offers a separate restroom for the one transgender student currently in the system.
The board voted 4-1 in favor of the consent agenda, with Blue Ridge District board member Matthew East voting no. In the June meeting, he spoke against the state guidelines and, regarding race education, said that the system was part of a “war for the hearts and the souls and the minds of our kids.”
He later said: “Yes, I voted against the consent agenda because it did include transgender policies within the VSBA [Virginia School Boards Association] policies. However, now that they are passed, we as a board feel that we can work together to protect our students privacy, protect parental rights, and protect our teachers rights.”
Such policies as those about nondiscrimination, personnel goals, equal employment opportunities, harassment/retaliation, parent and family engagement, and equal education opportunities – all parts of the consent agenda – included the new state law on transgender students’ treatment and policies, along with other sections of the Virginia code.
That section of law required the state’s education department to develop the guidelines to which East objected, and to make them available to school boards. It charges school boards with making policies “that are consistent with but may be more comprehensive” than the model guidance.