The Lee County School Board met on Thursday concerning the Virginia State Law requirement for schools to create a more inclusive environment for transgender and non-binary students. This requirement stems from legislation approved by the Virginia General Assembly in March of 2020 and directed by the Virginia Department of Education. This law covers many areas concerning compliance with nondiscrimination laws, safe and supportive learning environments, response to and prevention of harassment and bullying, student participation in school activities, use of school facilities, dress codes and more.
There were many in attendance voicing opposition to the new model policy and many spoke out during public comment voicing their concerns. The board was sympathetic to the many that voiced their opinions and informed everyone that there was already a non-discrimination policy in place and that no one wanted to see any person in the school system harassed or bullied.
Although it appeared that the school board members as a whole were opposed to the model policy that is to go in effect for the Fall Semester, the board did have a requirement under the new law and board adopted policies last month which were in compliance with the new transgender protection law. School Superintendent Brian Dean and Board Attorney Will Sturgill informed each board member, if the school division had policies consistent with state law, the board did not have to approve the model policy. Due to the board feeling they had met the requirements, they did not vote to approve the model policy provided to them.