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Debate sparks at Botetourt County School Board meeting over transgender policies

The Virginia Department of Education says schools must have inclusive policies in place by the 2021-22 school year

Debates sparked at the Botetourt County School Board meeting when parents spoke about the state’s policy requirements for transgender students.

FINCASTLE, Va. – Public school districts across Virginia are being required by the Department of Education to establish inclusive policies regarding student’s gender identity. Discussions about these changes have started in Botetourt County at Thursday night’s school board meeting.

Debates sparked at the Botetourt County School Board meeting when parents spoke about the state’s policy requirements for transgender students.

“It’s important to have policy like the ones in question in order to protect the well-being of transgender students,” said a mother of a transgender child. “My son and others like him just want to be treated like everybody else. They want to blend into the crowd. their dream is to be accepted for who they are.”

Some cited religious beliefs as the reason why they’re opposed to the state’s policy requirements.

“We send our children to church and tell them that this is a sin. And then you’re expecting us to send them to you and you’re telling them that we are lying to them,” said one parent, Grace Gibbs.

According to the Virginia Department of Education, all local school districts must have inclusive policies by the 2021-22 school year. But Botetourt superintendent, Dr. Jonathan Russ says the school’s policy is already meeting those standards.

“It is the administration’s recommendation to not adopt a stand-alone policy, instead BCPS has elected to continue with our current policies which we feel are for protection to all students,” he said.


About the Author:

Sydney joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2021.