Loudoun County Parents Urge School Board to Adopt Virginia’s New Transgender Student Policies

By Terri Wu
Terri Wu
Terri Wu
Terri Wu is a Washington-based freelance reporter for The Epoch Times covering education and China-related issues. Send tips to terri.wu@epochtimes.com.
October 11, 2022Updated: October 12, 2022

ASHBURN, Va.—Parents of students in Loudoun County, Virginia, urged the public school district’s board members at an Oct. 11 meeting to adopt Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s new transgender student policies.

According to the new policies (pdf), public schools can’t affirm a student’s gender without parents’ written requests. In addition, bathroom and locker room use is to be based on students’ sex, defined as the biological sex at birth. Student sports participation should be sex-based as well unless federal laws require otherwise.

The new policies are a reversal of the previous guidelines (pdf), which define transgender as a student’s “self-identifying term.” Those rules, which took effect in March 2021 under the previous governor, Democrat Ralph Northam, ask schools to consider not disclosing a student’s gender identity to the parents “if a student is not ready or able to safely share” it with their family.

Loudoun County School Board adopted the 2021 model policies in August 2021 as Policy 8040 (pdf). As a result, girls used boys’ bathrooms.

“I’m here to ask you to give as much attention and time to the reversal of [the 2021] policy,” Abbie Platt, a mother of three who’s a real estate agent, told the board members during a public comment period. “I’m asking you to honor the changes that the governor has put in place. Do the right thing.”

Platt has a daughter in high school and two sons, a second grader and a sixth grader. She said that in the spring, her older son had to urinate while a girl was about two feet away.

“He was super embarrassed and just traumatized,” she told The Epoch Times.

She said that when Policy 8040 was passed, her concern was for her daughter, who was in middle school at the time. To her surprise, she discovered that it was boys’ spaces that were compromised, because there were more adolescent girls who identified as boys than vice versa.

“When Policy 8040 was passed, it was embraced with such great enthusiasm and alacrity. And those bathrooms were so swiftly reidentified,” Platt told the school board members.

Epoch Times Photo
Abbie Platt, a mother of three, speaks at the Loudoun County School Board meeting in Ashburn, Va., on Oct. 11, 2022. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)

Clint Thomas, a father of two daughters currently in a Loudoun County high school and another three who graduated from district schools, told the board, “This school board is actively participating in destroying the basic building block of our society: the nuclear family.

“They’re actively involved in taking kids from their trusted parents via regulation 8040, which keeps parents in the dark if a child is confused about their gender. I call on this board tonight to align its policies with the recently updated guidelines on the use of pronouns and restrooms based on biological sex.”

Epoch Times Photo
Chris Elston (R), also known as Billboard Chris, speaks at a Loudoun County School Board meeting in Ashburn, Va., on Oct. 11, 2022. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)

Chris Elston, aka “Billboard Chris”—a Canadian father who opposes the idea that children can be born in the wrong body and often walks along sidewalks across North America wearing sandwich boards with slogans such as “Children cannot consent to puberty blockers”—also attended and spoke at the board meeting.

He said it was “disheartening” to see the board members’ “apathy.”

“I think expecting these school board members to affect any change is probably impossible; they would have done it already,” Elston told The Epoch Times. “So I’m going to take this to the street, and I’m going to talk to parents directly about how these schools are hiding vital information about their children from them. And we’ll see how they like all the extra pressure that’s going to come upon them.”

A 30-day public comment period began on Sept. 26 on the new policies, which were released by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) on Sept. 16. The new guidelines (or a more comprehensive version), which all Virginia school districts are required to adopt, will take effect after the state superintendent’s approval.

Loudoun County Public Schools officials didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.