RPS superintendent adds name to amicus brief supporting transgender student policies
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Several circuit courts across Virginia are now involved with reviewing transgender student policies in public school settings.
These policies, to create a more inclusive environment for transgender and non-binary students, are a requirement at the direction of the Virginia Department of Education following legislation approved by the General Assembly in 2020.
In March, the Christian Action Network out of Lynchburg filed a request asking the court to grant an injunction to stop the policies from being implemented.
On July 8, Equality Virginia, the ACLU of Virginia and several other groups filed an amicus brief to show why these policies should move forward.
An amicus brief, or “friend of the court,” is filed by organizations or persons not directly involved in a case to provide information related to issues to help courts reach decisions.
“We were really glad to have all of this legal precedent to then back up and showcase the stories of these families from across Virginia,” said Vee Lamneck, Executive Director of Equality Virginia.
Lamneck said the stories are the most powerful part of the legal document. Five transgender students and their families recount experiences they had in public school settings.
“[Many] who have faced real harm and discrimination, bullying and sometimes even violence simply because of their gender identity,” Lamneck said.
More than 50 partners and school board leaders from across Virginia added their names to the brief, including Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Jason Kamras.
“[It] symbolizes and signifies the importance of having educators and school administrators stand up for transgender students,” Lamneck said. “I really applaud the superintendent’s ability to be public and be visible in his support of transgender students.”
However, there are also many groups and members of the public in opposition to these policies.
A heated encounter happened in Loudoun County last month when the topic was brought up at a school board meeting.
Meanwhile, the Christian Action Network president said in March these policies show, “…nothing but contempt and disdain for parental rights, traditional values and the religious teachings of all major religions.”
Messages to the group for comment about the amicus brief were not immediately returned.
However, Lamneck hopes those opposed will take the time to read about the students’ experiences.
“I think these stories make the case apparently clear that this guidance is necessary so schools, administrators and teachers know what the steps they need to take in order to create a more inclusive environment,” they said.
The Founding Freedoms Law Center along with The Family Foundation also filed a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the implementation of these policies.
“‘Transgenderism’ seeks to answer the problem of gender dysphoria by affirming a person’s gender confusion, but this causes more harm than good,” the group’s website states. “Studies show that people who attempt to transition to the opposite sex are more depressed and suicidal than those that seek talk therapy.”
The Family Foundation is expected to provide an update on the pending litigation when it travels to southwest Virginia Thursday ahead of a school board discussion in Russell County.
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