FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va.—A group of parents rallied outside the Fairfax County school board meeting on Thursday night to protest the board’s new “malicious misgendering” policy that disciplines elementary school students for not addressing transgender students with their preferred pronouns.
Later in the night, the board voted 8–4 and approved the new policy as a part of the students’ handbook of rules and responsibilities. The adopted version removed wording about punishing accidental misgendering in the previous version.
According to the new policy, “malicious misgendering” will be gender identity-related offenses that could lead to up to level four responses, including five days of out-of-school suspension and referral to law enforcement for elementary school students.
“There’s an overreach happening with the school board with these policies because this isn’t coming in an organic fashion from the parents,” Stacy Langton, a Fairfax County mother of six, told The Epoch Times. “If there’s no demand for it, then that means [school board members] are deliberately pushing a particular agenda. So I’m very bothered by that.”
In her view, the agenda is about “indoctrinating the kids into a place where it all seems normal and desensitizing them to any kind of normal reaction, which would be revulsion, or to acknowledge that, hey, that’s not normal to call a boy a girl or a girl a boy.”
Lars Griffin, a college freshman who graduated from a Fairfax County high school last year, participated in the rally against the new policy. To him, level four disciplinary actions are “massive punishments” for a situation where a student “needs to be very seriously taken care of and reprimanded for it.” Hence, he said the new misgendering policy was “utterly ridiculous.”
He has a problem with the school board’s pro-transgender policies. “The fact that they are promoting these kids to make life-changing decisions that cannot be reversed is very concerning,” he told the Epoch Times. “It could lead to a lot of issues later on in life that they may regret and not be able to change.”
Chris McCormick, a mother of two transgender children, joined a different rally outside the school board meeting at the Luther Jackson Middle School to celebrate pride month. She told The Epoch Times that intentional misgendering was comparable to racial slurs, a form of bullying.
However, she acknowledged the challenge: “As a parent, I accidentally misgender my kids sometimes. It’s a learning process.”
Dr. Sebastian Gorka also attended the rally against the new pro-transgender policy, which he described as “communist.” “Controlling language is wrong for adults; it’s especially wrong for children,” he told The Epoch Times. “This should be about education. It should be about bettering the minds of children, not punishing them because there is some language that administrators prefer.”
According to Gorka, the pro-transgender policies by school boards across the nation are a part of an agenda to dismantle Western civilization by driving a wedge between children and their parents and blindsiding parents from their children’s gender transition.
“This is a classic Maoist tactic,” he added. “You separate the child from the parents and then weaken the family unit because the family unit is the final defense against communism.”