Last night, I watched as a handful of individuals spoke before the LCPS School Board to spread misinformation about transgender students. Among them, my own 1st and 2nd graders’ PE teacher.
I was shocked. My children’s teacher is so transphobic he would publicly pronounce he would not affirm a child. Failing to affirm a child, which includes refusing to call them by the name or pronouns they use, is child abuse. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, morals, and the freedom of speech and religion. But discrimination does not fall into any of those categories.
His statement is that he will — against the wishes of the parents, child, school policies, and the child’s physicians — ensure a child is forced to hear his religious beliefs on whether that child’s inner most sense of gender identity is valid. This is the government getting between a parent and their child. This is an individual abusing their position of authority over a student to override that student’s autonomy and emotionally abuse them about their gender identity. Whether it has happened already or not is irrelevant.
He is publicly stating he intends to do it. If this were physical or sexual abuse, it would not even be up for questioning. If this were regarding a student’s race, religion, or disability, it would not even be up for question. It is emotional abuse against a transgender student by a teacher entrusted to protect and care for them.
Make no mistake, the research is clear. Failing to affirm a child can be detrimental to their mental health and lead to a rise in suicidal idealization, depression, and anxiety. It can turn a classroom from a safe place into one in which a child is afraid to participate or learn. I would hope that the school’s administration chooses to address this issue and ensure that if this teacher cannot abide by the school’s policies and principles, that this teacher seek employment elsewhere. I am not asking for him or anyone to be fired.
I am asking the school to create a dialogue, be transparent with parents, and ensure that this teacher intends to comply with the school’s policies regarding affirming care for transgender students. As a transgender parent, advocate, and ally to the LGBTQ+ community in Loudoun County, I will happily volunteer my time to help coordinate a dialogue, provide verifiable medical information, and assist in any way.
Cris Candice Tuck