About 500 parents, school board members, and concerned citizens came together on Thursday evening in Russell County, Virginia to witness the result of a vote that denounced policies concerning the transgender push of the state's Department of Education. The Russell County School Board overwhelmingly voted 7 to 0 against a transgender model policy mandated by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).
According to CBN News, the Virginia Department of Education's transgender push was in the form of a new policy that allowed transgender students to use whichever name or gender they preferred depending on their gender identity. It also allowed them to use restrooms and locker rooms that they felt matched their gender identity.
But the Russell County School Board was not having it. They instead emphasized that they were committed to protecting the students of the school while complying with federal anti-discrimination laws.
"School boards have a primary ethical and legal duty to protect and respect the privacy, safety, and conscience of every child within the school setting, as well as the fundamental constitutionally-guaranteed rights of parents, teachers, and staff," Founding Freedoms Law Center legal counsel Josh Hetzler argued.
Family Foundation director of government relations Dr. Todd Gathje echoed Hetzler's sentiments, saying that despite policies handed down by the Virginia Department of Education, "school boards have a primary duty to protect the safety and security of the students under their care" and to ensure the "ability of parents to protect their children and not have their parental rights violated."
The Russell County School Board was commended by The Family Foundation's vice president of grassroots and communications strategies Candi Cushman, who said that the board, by deciding to denounce the trangender push of the Virginia Department of Education, set an "empowering example" for others in the state who "feel pressured against their will to adopt the state government agency's radical transgender-issue policy and other curriculum recommendations."
Cushman said that the Russell County School Board provided a "strong, unequivocal message" that they refused to compromise for the sake of protecting children at the school and "respecting parental rights."
School board member Bob Gibson told WCYB News 5 that he was committed to "[standing] up to protect every kid and do the will of the people of Russell County-and not that of an overreaching state government."
On the first day of President Joe Biden as Commander in Chief, he issued an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination based on one's gender identity or sex orientation. This kickstarted a number of bills across different states fighting for the protection of children in schools from allowing kids of the opposite sex from accessing their restrooms and locker rooms, and from joining sports teams of the opposite birth gender.
President Biden's Equality Act amends the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, alongside race, religion, sex and national origin, but his transgender push had been meet with intense pushback, especially from conservatives and Republicans who believes this violates their religious freedoms, Reuters reported.