Loudoun County high school students staged a protest over a Virginia school district’s gender policy, saying that allowing the use of bathrooms and lockers based on preferred gender violates “what we believe in.”
Students at Woodgrove High School, in Purcellville, walked out Wednesday over Loudoun County School Board’s Policy 8040 which “allows nonbinary, gender fluid and transgender students to use the school bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice,” according to WJLA. The district-wide policy was adopted in 2021 by the board in a 7 to 2 vote.
SkyTrack 7 captured the moment Loudoun County students walked out of school asking the school board to restore girls only and boys only locker rooms, showers and bathrooms.
I’m hearing from some students that their teachers discouraged them from joining the walk out. But in… pic.twitter.com/GjextmnkRW
— Nick Minock (@NickMinock) November 2, 2023
But fed-up students want the policy reversed, demanding that female and male-only spaces be reinstated in bathrooms, locker rooms and showers.
“It should be the entire school [walking out],” one student told WJLA while another noted, that “there are a lot of people who are scared to speak out against it so they stayed inside because they don’t want to see the backlash.” The outlet noted that some students had wanted to participate but reportedly “were discouraged by their teachers.”
— Nick Minock (@NickMinock) November 1, 2023
“In the locker rooms in the morning it’s an invasion of privacy, as I said because when men and natural-born males are in our locker rooms, and they are showering in the morning, natural-born females can walk in there as they please,” an unnamed male high school student told WJLA. “And that is not OK. And it goes against what we believe in.”
High school students in Loudoun County gathered today to ask the Loudoun County School Board to restore girls only and boys only locker rooms and bathrooms in schools. @7NewsDC pic.twitter.com/EKUj18Hnsf
— Nick Minock (@NickMinock) November 1, 2023
“I would like to be able when I get off football practice and go put my pads away and change not feel uncomfortable with other genders in there watching me,” another male student told the outlet. “I feel that girls feel the same way about the situation. How would you feel if you were a female changing with a male?”
A female student called out the “massive safety risk” that the policy poses, telling WJLA that she stopped using the bathrooms at school.
“We express these concerns and they ignore us and write us off as right-wing crazies,” she said.
“We’re not crazy. We just don’t want to be in danger on a daily basis in this building. I think it’s people finally stepping up and just being sick of it. We’re sick of being here and just being completely ignored. I stopped using them [the bathrooms] because I don’t know what’s going to happen to me in there. And people can be like, ‘Oh, well, that’s paranoid’” she told the outlet.
“I’m telling you right now half the women in this building feel the same way,” the high schooler added. “We don’t use the bathrooms. We hold our pee until we can’t. I mean, there are girls in PE [Physical Education class] who still get changed in the bathroom stalls in there because they’re afraid of who might waltz in.”
About 50 to 100 Woodgrove High School students participated in the walkout on Wednesday while counter-protestors waved pride flags across the street.
“I’m here to support all of the children,” one of them told WJLA. “No matter who they are. Yours, mine, all of them.”
Asked by the news outlet if the district plans to reverse the policy, Loudoun County Public Schools released a statement.
“The Loudoun County School Board is continuing to follow its established process in its review of the latest Model Policies issued by the Virginia Department of Education. Policy 8040 is in review along with the new Model Policies, by the Student Services Committee,” LCPS said in the statement.
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