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Report: Virginia School District Teaching Educators to Sidestep Parental Approval for Alternative Names and Pronouns

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The Fairfax County Public School system has made sure its teachers know their district does not require parental permission for students who wish to use names and pronouns not assigned to them at birth, according to a report.

A recent report by The Washington Examiner indicated that the northern Virginia district required that its teachers complete a training program that stated that teachers don’t need parental permission to address children by alternative names and pronouns.

The publication reportedly reviewed materials about the training program “Supporting Gender Expansive and Transgender Youth,” which was administered on July 22 to teachers of all grades, including preschool.

According to the Examiner, the program extensively covered those who requested new names or pronouns other than those on their official documents and stated that the school would accommodate those requests.

The training stated that parental permission is not required for those students who wish to be called “by his chosen name in class,” “requests to use the locker room that corresponds with her identified gender,” or asks to use “a private bathroom.”

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Students were given three options for changing their name, the first of which is to change it in class, where a teacher is required to address them by a “chosen” name. The student has the option to “use a chosen name in some classes and not others.” 

The second option was to change the name on online school platforms and the teachers are required to “ensure the class lists use the chosen name.”

And thirdly, the students can change their name “on all records,” which would cause their legal name to be “stored in the protected information view” in the district’s computer system.

“By removing parental notification from this process, FCPS is essentially encouraging students to lead a double life at school,” Nicole Neily, president of the parent activist organization Parents Defending Education told the Washington Examiner.

Neily added, “For a district that spends so much money on students’ emotional well-being, it’s hard to see how undermining the relationship between a child and his or her family will be beneficial in the long-run.”

The Virginia school district policy is sharply different than that of a North Texas school district, Grapevine-Colleyville, where teachers are now allowed to reject pronouns other than those given to a child at birth, even if the parents approve the change, according to The Texas Tribune.

The new policy in the Texas district states that individuals in the district can only use the bathroom that aligns with the sex assigned to them at birth, and their pronoun policy states “the district will not promote, require, or encourage the use of titles or pronoun identifiers for students, teachers or any other persons in any manner that is inconsistent with the biological sex of such person.”

The official change also governed sports, something that had many parents and guardians concerned.

“The policy on the agenda tonight that keeps girls competing against biological girls is very important to me,” one grandmother said, according to the Tribune. “I want to make sure that my granddaughters can enjoy the fruits and labor of my generation by participating in fair competitive sports.”

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