LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (NewsNation Now) — A Virginia school board is meeting again Wednesday after plans to approve a new policy on the treatment of transgender students led to protests, emotional public comments and one teacher quitting on the spot.
The policy in question would expand the rights of transgender students inside Loudoun County schools by requiring staff to use preferred names and pronouns, allow use of bathrooms and participation in extracurricular activities that match the individual’s gender and require training for school mental health professionals on LGBTQ+ issues.
After months of emotional debate on the new policy, the school board was set to vote on it Tuesday night. The volume of public comment and size of public protests caused the vote to get pushed back an additional day.
A local radio station reported that public comment went on for nearly 4 1/2 hours and 150 people were signed up to speak, despite not all appearing.
Passions around this issue have remained high among parents and teachers both for and against the policy.
Laura Morris, a teacher, quit midway during the school board meeting so she would not have to implement the policy.
“School board, I quit. I quit your policies, I quit your training and I quit being a cog in a machine that tells me to push highly politicized agendas on our most vulnerable constituents, the children,” she said. “I will find employment elsewhere.”
This isn’t the first time the vote has been delayed due to a protest over the policy. NBC Washington reported that a meeting in June resulted in two people being arrested and a third hurt after protests turned unruly.
Parents at these board meetings have also been vocal protesters against the idea of teaching critical race theory, a policy that discusses the ways racism influences systemic American policies.
A gym teacher announced earlier this year he would refuse to implement the policy if it was put in place. He was put on administrative leave as a result. A district court judge ruled the teacher must be reinstated which the district is appealing.