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Opinion – Court upholds prior ruling on gender equality

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case of Gloucester v. Grim, ending a long fight over whether a student born female should be allowed to use a multi-user male bathroom.

The ruling comes as parents around the commonwealth get their first look at the new, transgender-friendly practices required by the Department of Education.

The Supreme Court’s non-action leaves in place a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal ruling which held that Gloucester County’s policy was in violation of Title IX.

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

The Fourth Circuit ruling, which held that Grimm must be allowed to use the multi-person boys’ restroom, concluded that denying Grimm use of the facilities was a violation of the section.

In 2020, the General Assembly passed a bill which required the Department of Education to come up with model policies for dealing with transgender students, and requiring each school division to adopt them. These guidelines state that “school divisions should make efforts to eliminate gender-based practices to the extent possible.” “Gender-based policies, rules, and practices can have the effect of marginalizing, stigmatizing, and excluding students, regardless of their gender identity or gender expression.”

“Examples of practices that may be based on gender include grouping students for class activities, gender-based homecoming or prom courts, limitations on who can attend as ‘couples’ at school dances, and gender-based events such as father-daughter dances.”

The model policies — which exclude athletics — require that students be allowed to use the locker room or restroom of their choice.

The Grimm non-decision effectively locks these rules in place as the default. Other facilities must be made available if a student is uncomfortable with using the facilities that align with their gender identity.

The policies put forward by the Board of Education go too far, without safeguards for other students in place. I believe female students shouldn’t be required to change in a locker room with a student who was born male. Allowing biologically male students access to female restrooms will make female students feel less safe.

GLENN YOUNGKIN

ON EDUCATION

After he takes the oath of office, Youngkin says he’s cleaning house at the Department of Education — which definitely needs to be done.

“The classroom is not the place for political agenda,” Youngkin said at the rally. “Our children should not be the victims of the left-liberal progressive cultural war.” Under his administration, Critical Race Theory will have no place in our classrooms.

He will also work to ensure that high standards are upheld — that means no backsliding on advanced math. The Department of Education is “exploring” a proposal that would limit students to only four semesters of advanced math. Under the proposal as drawn, students would take the same math classes until 10th grade.

The Department of Education is also considering ending advanced diplomas in the name of equity. This detracking proposal would put students of all ability levels in the same classes, meaning either advanced students get bored or students that need more help get left behind.

“We must establish higher standards and improved curricula, increase investment in teachers and facilities, and empower parents to choose the best education path for their child,” he said.

Highlights include more year-round governor’s schools with merit-based admission, no more unnecessary closures, and preservation of advanced diplomas.

I have always, and will continue to fight for higher standards, and achieve equity by lifting up all students to their maximum potential.

DEL. TOMMY WRIGHT can be reached via email at DelTWright@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.