Can parents dictate a school district’s policies and what information the district required to provide parents about their children? Those questions were asked by Judge Douglas L. Fleming on Tuesday in Loudoun Circuit Court to the lawyer representing a group of parents in a lawsuit seeking a takeover of Loudoun County Public Schools.
The parents accuse LCPS staff in the suit of “political and cultural indoctrination” of their children and exposing them to “inappropriate sexual and racial content” and endangering them physically and psychologically. They want a “special master” or “commissioner in chancery” to run LCPS rather than the school board and interim Superintendent Daniel W. Smith.
Attorney Jesse R. Binnall, who represents the 12 parents, stressed that while the parents’ children have allegedly been harmed by LCPS policies, the suit is strictly about the alleged harm the parents have suffered due to the policies. He singled out Policy 8040 which concerns transgender and gender non-conforming students.
The policy includes letting students to use the pronouns corresponding with their gender identity and which bathroom they use. And the policy forbids staff from disclosing a student’s gender identity or transgender status to parents or other students without the student’s permission.
Referring to his client’s Christianity — many Christians believe being LGBTQ is immoral — Binnall said the bathroom policy “can result in religious discrimination.” He added that the student privacy aspect of the policy violates parents’ constitutional right to raise their children as they see fit and could possibly violate the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
“We see here that once you drop your children off at the school door, you have no say,” Binnall said. “It’s simply wrong. They do not have the right to hide information from parents. That’s what Policy 8040 is.”
But Fleming — who said he planned to issue a written opinion in a about a week about whether to dismiss the case or allow it to go to trial — questioned whether the parents were seeking to control LCPS policies and dictate what information they must be provided with. He questioned whether parents who believe it is sinful to show too much skin could require schools to report if their child wears clothes in school that expose their midriffs, or if parents who prize exercise could require schools to report how many pushups their children do in gym class.
“What limits are there on a parent’s right to know? Are there any limits?” Fleming asked Binnall. “What is the difference between hiding information and not providing information?”
Binnall responded that withholding gender identity from parents is religious discrimination and hinders parents’ right to opt their children out of policies they disapprove of.
“They cannot purposefully hide information,” he said. “Especially regarding [religious] mores.”
Binnall also said the sexual assaults of two students in 2021 by a fellow student described in court documents as “gender fluid” was an example of why the bathroom policy was dangerous. He erroneously told Fleming that both assaults occurred in bathrooms.
However, the first assault — which a special grand jury report said involved a planned meeting between the assailant and victim who had consensual sex two weeks earlier — occurred in a school bathroom before passage of Policy 8040. The second assault, which the grand jury concluded was preventable, involved a random attack in an empty classroom.
Fleming also asked attorney Matthew D. Green, who represents LCPS, about whether schools should be required to notify parents about what gender pronoun their children wanted used. Green said the question was an example of why the lawsuit should be dismissed: because the policy applies to all children and the plaintiffs haven’t been individually harmed.
Green said if the parents don’t approve of the policies, they should lobby the school board to change them, run for school board, or support school board candidates who support their positions. But he said they shouldn’t be allowed to dictate policies through lawsuits.
“This is just a broad-sided attack on school board policies,” Green said. “They’ve got these awful policies and the court should do something about them.”
Public schools are, and have always been secular. Enroll in a private or parochial school if you want morals imposed on your kids. If they already have a smartphone, you're fooling yourselves about keeping them from exposure to any immoral indoctrination.
Has anyone seen actual proof of a death threat or is it someone off the record overheard by someone in another stall given ammo for the cannon fodder?
Either there are no credible death threats or law enforcement is not doing there job. Which is it?
Evidence of death threat?? you mean someone saying that they or their family received a death threat is not enough? Really??
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