‘Trampling on the rights of our children’: Parents outraged by school board expanding ‘misgendering’ policy

Parents in Fairfax County, Virginia, the home of controversy after controversy, are once again crying foul, this time over the expansion of an already controversial “misgendering” rule that could lead to young children being suspended for not using a peer’s so-called correct “gender pronouns.”

Roughly a year ago, Fairfax County Public Schools implemented a policy that “suspend[s] high school and middle school students for up to five days if they don’t use their peer’s preferred gender pronouns, or if they call the student a name they no longer use,” according to local station WJLA.

The former is known as misgendering, and the latter is known as “deadnaming.” Suppose there was a male student named Bruce Jenner. If said student changed his name to Caitlyn and his gender to female, other students would be punished under this policy if they continued to call Caitlyn “Bruce” and use he/him pronouns.

This week the Fairfax County School Board voted to expand this rule to also include elementary school children in kindergarten up to sixth grade, triggering outrage.

“What’s most concerning to me is the punishments. They are talking about potentially giving suspensions to children as young as fourth grade, and these rules will go in place for children all the way as young as kindergarten,” parent Tyler Ohta, the founder of Moms for American Values, told Fox News prior to Thursday’s vote.

“So to hold little children culpable, responsible, for someone else’s personal decision, compelling their speech at such a young age. It’s a very dangerous path that we’re going down and we need to defend our free speech and our religious beliefs.”

“We want to make sure the school board realizes that they are trampling on the rights of our children by compelling them to speech and punishing them if they do not abide by that regulation,” another parent, Linda, added.

What’s unclear is how the punishments will be doled out. Originally, “it was proposed to separate grades K-3 from 4-6 when it comes to levels of punishment” because “younger elementary students need a nurturing environment and teaching about how actions impact others as opposed to suspension,” according to WJLA.

But a decision was eventually made “to revert back K-6 as opposed to the originally proposed K-3,” though it’s unclear what exactly this means.

Does this mean even kindergarteners can now be suspended for “misgendering” and “deadnaming,” or does this mean that all elementary school students will be exempted from punishment? It sounds like the former, but again, it’s unclear.

What’s clear is that there’s no limit to how far the Fairfax County School Board is willing to go to implement left-wing policies.

“This school board will weaponize anything they can to punish anybody who disagrees with them,” one parent said to Fox News, reportedly referencing how the board had during the pandemic designated the refusal to wear a mask a violation of the district’s dress code.

“We live Fairfax County. Their voting history is far left. I wouldn’t call it progressive. I would call it regressive. It will damage relationships in the classroom. And it will hinder our learning environment,” another parent, Steve Robinson, said to Fox News.

Indeed, speaking on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” this Friday, local parent Debra Tisler noted that “a significant number of children” in Fairfax County “are unable to read proficiently at grade level and numerate proficiently at grade level.

Yet instead of working to resolve this real crisis, the school board would rather play politics.

“[T]hey’re putting an emphasis on a political agenda and not creating a pipeline to success and opportunity for our students. We know from all data sources that are out there that illiteracy is tied to violence and poverty. This school board is not focusing on that. It is very problematic,” she said.

The Fairfax County School Board is not alone in boasting the wrong priorities.

Fellow Fairfax County parent Stephanie Lundquist-Arora concurred with Tisler’s assessment.

“Last year, this Board refused to provide our children in-person education for over a year. Families were struggling and inundated with homeschooling or mediating their children’s virtual (un) learning,” she said to Fox News.

“And rather than addressing academic concerns, this Board slips a policy past us that virtually no one supports. Last night, we witnessed them doubling down on that policy and confirming that parents’ voices do not matter to them.”

The Fairfax County School Board has in the past year been embroiled in an endless series of controversies, all of them related to politics.

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