The Loudoun County School Board voted Wednesday to pass a measure that would expand the rights of transgender students in the Virginia county’s schools.
The board passed the measure 7-2 after over an hour of debates on amendments and a discussion on whether to send the measure back for further discussion and modification.
Doors are open to the public ahead of tonight’s Loudoun County school board meeting here in Ashburn. Members are expected to vote on a new policy that will make schools more welcoming to transgender and other LGBTQ students @WTOP pic.twitter.com/LCiBcetHMf
— Michelle Basch (@mbaschWTOP) August 11, 2021
The proposal allows transgender student athletes to participate on teams based on their gender identity. Teachers and staff would be required to refer to students by their preferred pronouns. Transgender students would use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity.
It was amended prior to the final vote, requiring all school staff to undergo training on topics relating to LGBTQ+ students. Originally, the policy only required such training for all school mental health professionals.
The policy would follow Virginia law, which has directed districts to consider revised anti-harassment guidelines.
However, the implementation of the policy has caused heated debate within the county. Last June, the board had to halt its public comment period on the proposal, when a crowd commenting on the proposed policy became unruly.
The vote was originally expected to be cast on Tuesday, but the board adjourned after hearing 4 1/2 hours of public comments on the subject.
During Wednesday’s meeting, school board chair Brenda Sheridan said it was her responsibility to handle all the “the negative comments, the heinous emails, voicemails and threats” about the policy to ensure a safe environment for Loudoun County’s transgender and expansive students.
WTOP’s Dick Uliano and Michelle Basch and The Associated Press contributed to this report.