Two organizations file court papers opposing Virginia’s transgender school policies

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On Friday, Christian Action Network (CAN) and Founding Freedoms Law Center (FFLC) filed a Notice of Appeal in opposition to Virginia’s recently published “Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools.”

The Lynchburg-based CAN was the first to file, meaning the case is likely to be heard in the City of Lynchburg. In all probability, CAN’s appeal will be consolidated with the legal complaints of the Richmond-based FFLC.

During the past several months, CAN and FFLC have warned the Virginia Department of Education that ‘Model Policies’ infringe on federal and state constitutional rights of parents, students and school staff, as well as violating other state laws.

At issue for CAN, are the policies that will:

  • Require all students, teachers and staff to address transgender students with preferred pronouns, or face school discipline or even criminal charges.
  • Require school staff to agree with and promote an unscientific view that sex is “assigned at birth,” rather than by the child’s DNA.
  • Require school staff to agree with and promote the unbiblical view that gender identity exceeds the binary view of God that he created them “male and female.” (Gen. 1:27)
  • Allow students to enter biologically opposite-sex bathrooms and locker rooms without having to provide any ‘substantiating evidence’ of being transgender.
  • Allow students to enter biologically opposite-sex sleeping quarters on out-of-town field trips without having to provide any ‘substantiating evidence’ of being transgender.
  • Prohibit school staff from questioning a student’s entry or intent into biologically opposite-sex bathrooms, locker rooms or out-of-town sleeping quarters.
  • Require school staff to report parents to Child Protective Services if they suspect a child’s gender transition may have caused an undefined “abuse” or “neglect” at home.

CAN also alleges that the “Model Policies” do not follow the state’s authorizing legislation that required the guidelines to be “evidence-based best practices.”

“Many of these guidelines offer no practices that are either ‘evidence-based’ or ‘best’ for both nondiscrimination and for protecting students with normal sexuality,” said CAN Chairman and attorney, David Carroll.

“Instead, they demand that everyone accept an extreme totalitarian alternate reality in which a person’s sex is merely a label given at birth rather than biological science or a gift from God, and in which students are punished for failing to use a preferred, often unpronounceable, pronoun rather than the normal he or she.

“The VDOE’s proposed model policies for transgender students reject the sensibilities, religious beliefs, or safety of the majority student population,” Carroll said. “The model policies are an attempt to transform the culture by propagandizing and intimidating students against their religion and cultural modesty. It is simply wrong in every respect and they violate the various constitutional and state laws.”

At issue for FFLC (which CAN concurs), are policies that:

  • Allow students without parental consent to change their name and/or gender on school records.
  • Allow schools to deny non-compliant parents the right to know if their child has changed their name and/or gender on school records.

“Allowing a minor, deemed by state laws incapable of making legally binding decisions because of a lack of capacity, to make a decision concerning gender reflected on school records is again a violation of constitutionally protected parental rights,” FFLC attorney James Davids posted to Virginia’s public comment forum regarding the proposed guidelines.

“Withholding these documents is a violation of Virginia Code § 20-124.6, which states that a parent shall not be denied access to his/her child’s academic record,” Davids wrote.

CAN president Martin Mawyer said, “These ‘Model Policies’ fail at every level to respect or secure the rights, modesty and safety of the vast majority of Virginia’s public-school students.

“The fact that no fewer than four LGBT groups are referenced as contributors to these guidelines without a single traditionalist group being represented, is evidence of itself that Virginia’s Department of Education had no interest in even hearing about those rights, modesty and safety issues.”

“Anyone reading through the ‘Model Policies’ will quickly learn that the guidelines are less about protecting the rights of transgender students than they are about punishing, expelling and humiliating any traditionalist who still believes in biological science and God,” Mawyer said.

“If the courts uphold these unscientific and morally-flawed guidelines, our lawsuit will likely only be the first in a series of avoidable litigation that could eventually bury Virginia’s public schools,” Mawyer said.

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