ACPS has published its Draft Transgender Policy. This policy is meant to take effect for the
2021-2022 school year for all K-12 schools. There is an information session this Wednesday,
July 28th. The school board is expected to review the draft, consider changes, and will vote to
adopt a policy during their August 12 meeting.
Anyone with concerns about this policy: now is the time to act. The division has created an
email address, TransgenderPolicyFeedback@k12albemarle.org, for questions and comments
from the public. They stated, “All questions will be answered and posted online prior to the
August 12 school board meeting” (July 16th Press Release).
Send an email to that address with the exact part of the policy that concerns you.
Be specific about what concerns you and how you want it changed!
Excerpts from the draft policy follow, with examples of real-life implications.
● “In collaboration with the student and the student’s family (if the family is supportive of
the student), develop a plan to ensure that the student has equal access and
opportunity to participate in all programs and activities at school and is otherwise
protected from gender-based discrimination at school.” (ACPS Policy pg.5, emphasis
○ Implication: A teenage girl could tell the school that she wishes to transition to
being a boy. The school will only collaborate with her family if that family is
deemed “supportive”. If the school suspects that the parents are not supportive of
the daughter’s transition, she could start using the boys’ bathroom and boys’
locker room without her parents’ knowledge.
● “Some gender-expansive students have not talked to their parents about their gender
identity and/or do not want their parents to know about their gender-expansive status
based on safety concerns or fear about a lack of acceptance. Therefore, prior to
contacting a student’s parents or guardian, the principal or designee should speak with
the student to ascertain the level of support the student either receives or anticipates
receiving from home. If the student does not want the school to contact the
student’s parents, the school shall honor that request for privacy with the proviso
that an underage student shall be advised that the school may not be able to implement
certain aspects of the student’s transitioning plan without parental approval.” (ACPS
Policy pgs. 5-6, emphasis added)
○ Implication: A child could be having private conversations with a
principal/teacher/guidance counselor about his/her gender dysphoria. The school
could deem the family “unsupportive” and never tell them of the child’s struggles.
○ Importantly, The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental
Health found that 52% of transgender/non-binary youth considered suicide.
Despite a transgender child’s increased risk of suicidal thought, ACPS could be
aware that a child has gender dysphoria but at the child’s request the school
would keep that crucial information from parents.
● “Some gender-expansive youth who are close to reaching puberty, or after starting
puberty, may have medical treatments to reinforce their social transition. These
treatments may include hormone suppressants, cross-gender hormone therapy,
and, for a small number of young people, a range of gender-affirming
surgeries…In the case of a gender-expansive student, a school nurse should use the
student’s preferred name, and should use the student’s legal name only when necessary
for the student to receive appropriate care and to enable the school nurse to coordinate
care for the student with other health care providers or licensed professionals, as well as
to file health insurance claims.” (ACPS Policy pp. 5,7; emphasis added)
○ Implication: If a child’s transition is kept a secret from “unsupportive” parents,
and that transition involves hormone therapy and/or surgery, ACPS schools may
help coordinate medical treatments for the child without involving parents.
● “The school principal or their designee should speak with the student first to find out
concerns the student may have. As noted above, these situations must be addressed
on a case-by-case basis.” (ACPS Policy pg. 4, emphasis added)
○ Implication: With everything treated on a “case-by-case basis”, the practical
implication is that ACPS will not be held to any parental notification requirements
whatsoever. This policy does not include any age-based limitations or clauses,
thus allowing children of any age to transition without parental approval.
Theoretically, under this policy a 7 year old boy could be living at school as a girl
without the parents ever knowing.
● “Students must be permitted to participate in physical education and intramural sports in
accordance with the student’s gender identity that is consistently asserted at school.”
(ACPS Policy, pg. 8)
○ Implication: Boys may play on girls’ intramural teams and vice versa.
● “Gender-expansive students shall be provided access to facilities (restrooms, locker
rooms or changing rooms) consistent with their gender identity consistently asserted at
school.” (ACPS Policy, pg. 8)
○ Implication: Boys may use girls’ locker rooms (many equipped with shower
facilities), and vice versa.
● “Although some students may feel uncomfortable with a gender-expansive student using
the same sex-specific facility, that discomfort is not a reason to deny access to the
gender-expansive student. Any student uncomfortable sharing a sleeping area, shower,
bathroom, or any sex- segregated facility, shall, upon request, be provided with a
designated safe, non-stigmatizing alternative.” (ACPS Policy, pg. 8)
○ Implication: If a girl is uncomfortable with a boy in her locker room, that girl will be
provided an alternative facility. She will have to leave the girls’ locker room and
go somewhere else, while the boy stays in the girls’ locker room.
● “Students must be permitted to participate in all school activities (for example, overnight
field trips) in accordance with their gender identity consistently asserted at school. With
respect to overnight class trips, sleeping arrangements should be discussed with the
student and family. “ (ACPS Policy, pg. 8)
○ Implication: On an overnight high school field trip, a boy that identifies as a girl
will be allowed to stay with the girls. If one of the girls felt uncomfortable with this,
she would be required to notify someone to request alternate arrangements to
sleep elsewhere while the boy stays with the other girls.
● “Schools have a unique and powerful opportunity to support gender-expansive
students, including those undergoing a gender transition, while providing education to
the entire school community. Regardless of how a student transitions or expresses their
gender identity, all students have the right to have their gender identity recognized
and respected by their school community.” (ACPS Policy pg. 4, emphasis added)
○ Implication: If a girl wants to be a boy (or vice versa), the school may use all of its
power and influence to help her do it. This transition will not require involvement
from her parents.