Two parents in Virginia Beach have filed a lawsuit against their school board for refusing to enact Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s new model policies for handling transgender students.
The model policies direct teachers to refer to transgender students by their biological sex and birth name unless parents agree in writing to any changes. They also require students to play on sports teams based on their biological sex.
The lawsuit states that the parents “want to protect their children from being compelled to use biologically inaccurate names and pronouns, forced to use bathrooms and locker rooms with members of the opposite sex, or required to pretend during athletic competition that gender identity can override the enduring physical differences between boys and girls.”
The Virginia Beach School Board voted down a proposal to adopt the policies last month. The vote was five versus five, with one member abstaining, so it failed.
“Youngkin and Republican Attorney General Jason Miyares have said school boards must adopt the new rules, which they say are designed to give parents a greater say in how their children are treated at school” NBC News reports. “But it has been unclear whether state law provides any mechanism to force counties to adopt the regulations, and opponents say the policies violate federal law by codifying discrimination against transgender students.”
The report added, “A state law passed in 2020 required the state to develop model regulations and county school boards to adopt them, but it included no enforcement mechanism. The model policies developed by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration were greeted favorably by advocates for transgender students, but many school boards did not adopt them. At the time, the Department of Education told school districts failing to adopt the policies that they assumed all legal risks for noncompliance.”
Victoria Manning, who voted to adopt the policies, said that she did so because this was why Virginians elected Governor Youngkin.
“Virginians elected Gov. Youngkin for this very reason,” she said, according to the NBC report.
Manning is welcoming the lawsuit.
“A majority of the VA Beach School Board failed to support my resolution which would have put us in compliance with the law,” Manning told 13News Now. “I’m glad there are parents willing to take a stand and protect children and hold the board accountable.”
The lawsuit, filed on Monday, is asking a judge to declare that the school board must adopt policies consistent with what the Youngkin administration has proposed and an injunction requiring the school board to do so.
Governor Youngkin has also welcomed the lawsuit.
“Let me just begin by saying I’m proud of them,” Governor Youngkin said of the parents who filed the lawsuit, according to the 13News Now report. “I’m proud of them for standing up for their children and for kids, and I support them and as you know, I firmly believe that there is no other decision for school boards than to adopt the model policies or policies that are consistent with the model policy.”