School Board Delays Vote on Anti-Discrimination Policy

The Loudoun County School Board decided tonight to hold off on any changes to the school system’s equal anti-discrimination policy.

Board members were expected to weigh in on whether “sexual orientation and gender identity” should be added to a list of characteristics protected from discrimination specifically stated in policy.

Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn) first suggested the board delay the much-anticipated vote until school division attorney Stephen DeVita returns from leave. “There’s no rush on this, and I think we need to make sure we do it right, as best as we can,” he said.

Several board members indicated at the Nov. 29 board meeting that they wanted to ask DeVita whether the law allows them to delete the other 11 characteristics that are specified in the policy, in the spirit of dropping labels all together.

Nearly 30 people spoke at tonight’s meeting in support of adding language to specifically protect lesbian, gay, transgender and queer employees and students to policy. Many of the speakers said those labels describe them or their children, and not spelling them out in policy means they are left unprotected.

Jamie Gregg, whose child is transgender, recently met with her school principal. “We were told by the principal as long as we didn’t rock the boat and exercise our rights, all would be fine,” she said. She encouraged the board to include the language in policy to provide guidance in how to treat employees and students who identify as LGBTQ. “Without a policy, these students, administrators and teachers have nothing to use as guidance. It seems they are making things up as they go.”

A handful of people spoke in support of keeping the policy language as is, but they did not receive a warm response from the crowd.

Meg Killgannon and Bethany Kozme, both from Fairfax County, told the board they were providing voices from the future. They were told ahead of Fairfax County Public Schools’ decision last year to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination policy that it would better protect students. But, they said, it has actually caused harm.

“I beg you not to pass this,” Kozme shouted, adding that she is a victim of sexual assault. “All are equal except girls who don’t want to have a bisexual boy in their shower or locker room. … Do you really want to enable threats like this?”

A few in the audience hissed at the two women on their way back to their seats.

The earliest the School Board will take a vote on the policy is after the new year, at its next regular meeting Jan. 10.

17 thoughts on “School Board Delays Vote on Anti-Discrimination Policy

  • 2016-12-19 at 8:54 pm
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    The idea is absurd and foolish … LGBTQ will become a protected behavior. Why not get God’s opinion on the matter since he will be the final arbiter of human action? Jesus said, “And whosoever shall offend (cause to sin) one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42) If LCSB members feel certain God has put his imprimatur on such a policy, don’t believe he exists, or don’t care what he thinks, so be it, but implementing the policy rolls the dice on eternity. Jesus also said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

    • 2016-12-19 at 8:56 pm
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      If what I’ve said offends, maybe a non-discrimination policy for those who believe the Bible is the Word of God is needed.

  • 2016-12-17 at 2:05 am
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    I’m going to ask again “arbie:” Name a teacher at LCPS who has been fired being gay? I doubt you can. And that’s a reason I suspect you’re not in Loudoun. You see, Loudoun has long been at the forefront of tolerance and inclusiveness. And if you lived here, you’d know that.

    We don’t want your phobia’s and your McCarthyism-like labeling. We’re all people here, not labels.

  • 2016-12-17 at 1:54 am
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    It’s embarrassing to see these phobias reveal themselves in Loudoun County.

    The only people I ignore “Arbie” are hustlers who continue to insist on labeling people and classifying them as anything else but equal. As if they’re incapable of standing on their own two feet and conducting themselves as valuable and contributing members of the community. Every gay individual I know is squared away and would likely mop the floor with any hustler trying to tell them they need to be put in a box for their own protection.

    Only the extreme fringe stays up at night, wringing their hands and fretting whether some people should be more equal than others, but normal America has moved on. While some, pitifully, go through life looking at people first and foremost by categorizing them as black, white, Asian, Latino, gay, straight, man, woman, whatever, the vast majority of people do not.

    I understand that can be difficult to grasp for regressive political types who just can’t get over that America is leaving them behind to stew in their matrix of victimization. People like “label lady” and “stereotype lady,” and sadly, you Arbie, are bitterly clinging to the past, where people need to be put in categories, controlled, and then dealt with as a “category,” rather than as the human beings they are.

    Most people don’t care who you are, who you love, what you look like, or what you believe – the question is – Can you do the job well? Will you show up for work? Can you be a positive member of the community? Is your business good or does it suck? Can you pull your fair share? Are you a good neighbor? Can you make the touchdown? Those are the things reasonable people care about.

    People who demand “labels” are holding society back from Dr. King’s dream. We’re never going to have the equality we all desire so long as there are a few angry troglodytes who are dragged along, clinging to our ankles, demanding categories, labels, “descriptors” or any other archaic control freak methods.

  • 2016-12-15 at 10:20 am
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    “Labels provide protection”. This is just a political agenda. Labeling people has NEVER helped anyone. And in most cases it has hurt the people wearing the label. Tell the surviving family members of the Star of David wearing Jews in Nazi Germany how much protection they got. The LGBTQLMNOP whatever community just can’t accept the fact that they are still just a very small percentage of society. Most people have gotten over this groups sex lives. Most people have gotten over this groups marriage desires. Now the LGBT….want to not just be accepted but to influence others. Why does who or how you want your sex and be married to, have to be labeled and carried into bathrooms, locker rooms or any where else this group wants to increase it’s sphere of influence. Labels cause division.

    • 2016-12-16 at 4:23 pm
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      Hold on a sec now. Are you saying that no women or religious or racial minorities have been illegally fired just because of who they were? And that none of them have prevailed in court? Because there are plenty of these kinds of instances where people have won lawsuits over wrongful termination due to their membership in a protected class. Those “classes” enumerated in our laws and nondiscrimination ordinances make it explicit that discrimination against these commonly-targeted groups is not okay. Without those explicit protections, people try to get away with this kind of thing because there’s no express prohibition against it. So yes, labels CAN help people, and they HAVE helped people.

      So on this topic, I can tell you what LGBTQ people want: the right not to be fired or treated as a second class citizen in our workplaces, schools, and the marketplace just because we are LGBTQ. THAT is what we want. I really don’t think that’s too much to ask.

  • 2016-12-14 at 6:39 pm
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    In the real world, Mr. CareerSwitcher, assault and harassment is already against the law and dealt with equally and swiftly, regardless of who the victim is. Don’t try and tell me LCPS turns a blind eye to any form of harassment. Name a teacher in the LCPS system who has been fired for being gay.

    “Labels” are sanctioned discrimination and bigotry, and you know it.

    The woman sitting next to “Label Lady” has a sign which says “free of stereotyping.” What does she think “stereotyping” means? One meaning is “labeling.” So which is it — labels, or free of labeling?

    Where does the creepy, bigoted “labeling” agenda end? Shall I demand from the school board to receive an exclusive “label” of “Greek-Americans” for my kids? They’re the same as all other kids. One of my Grandfathers was from Canada; shall I demand a special class of protection for my “Canadian-American” kids? Everyone deserves to be treated equally. This is what has been drilled into everyone for decades in America. Yet now, we’re supposed to ignore the teachings of Dr. King, and countless others and demand special classes of people, to be sorted by government, selected and coddled above other people? It’s a sickness of thought and a regressive manipulation of a free and open mind, besides being against everything we’ve been taught.

    Do you read what you write “Arbie?” Dr. King’s words and striving for a country where everyone is regarded as a person is mere “rhetoric?” No wonder you’re demanding a leap backwards to social norms of the past where everyone is branded, or “categorized” as you put it, into a box and dealt with on separate terms. That’s what you’re preaching? Equality is equality is equality. And we’ll never achieve it with people saying some animals are more equal than others. You go ahead and teach your kids that horsepucky. I’ll teach mine to be blind to people’s differences.

    Riddle me this: Should devout Muslims who own a bakery be required to bake a same sex wedding cake, even though homosexuality is against their religion?

    • 2016-12-15 at 2:44 pm
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      Apparently you couldn’t read what I wrote. You would think that context could have provided you a clue, had you exercised any reading comprehension skills, as to what I meant rather than focusing on one word and reading it uncharitably. My use of the word “rhetoric” was certainly not meant to belittle or demean what I was referring to–that word doesn’t just have a pejorative meaning. It was only to reference the reasoning that you provided.

      I am most certainly not “demanding a leap backwards.” You didn’t even try to understand what I said. Try re-reading it again and actually thinking a while before you snipe back. In a world where prejudices of many sorts still run rampant, being “blind to people’s differences” often means ignoring the needs of vulnerable populations who continue to be IGNORED because people like you pretend they don’t even exist.

  • 2016-12-14 at 4:09 pm
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    David F. Only positive results? Well, we had two ladies tell us the exact opposite from Fairfax: “All are equal except girls who don’t want to have a bisexual boy in their shower or locker room. … Do you really want to enable threats like this?”

    This is the direction of this junk. The normalization of things that are completely not normal needs to stop.

    “A few in the audience hissed at the two women on their way back to their seats.” Because that’s how liberals roll!

    • 2016-12-15 at 2:46 pm
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      David, come on. Those ladies you referenced? That’s anecdotal, and doesn’t even say anything about an actual event where some girls were in a locker room with a bisexual boy. By the way, bisexual is a sexual orientation and is completely outside the transgender umbrella, so it doesn’t even make any sense.

  • 2016-12-14 at 12:30 pm
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    Maybe you can help me out Mr. CareerSwitcher. My entire life, I’ve been taught that ‘labels’ were bad. That we should look upon all individuals as just that, not as black, white, red, yellow, purple, or brown. Not as someone who’s gay, religious, atheists, handicapped, or dresses different than you. Indeed, God help any of the Manthos’ kids who ever uttered a remark about anyone with disabilities – as we would face an unprecedented wrath from our parents topped off with a memorable beating.

    In the Loudoun County Schools, we were taught “labels” were unacceptable, and that everyone was a human being regardless of the way they looked, where they came from, what church the attended, or which tongue they spoke, etc. In my home, our children are taught these same values. Dr. King says it best: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.” It was the same belief everywhere: In collage, in the military, in work places, in social settings.

    I’m stunned by the photo in this story of the woman demanding to be labeled (bet I’m not the only one). Every gay person I’ve ever known, including members of my family, have only asked for equality. A society that doesn’t assign a label as “gay” and thus treated differently from any other individual. That’s what it was all about. With the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, we’d finally removed that last barriers, and all should be considered equal.

    And now this photo of a woman demanding to be “labeled” as something different from anybody else. Why would they be divisive? Why the push for segregation? Why are their lives somehow more deserving of government oversight than those of my son and daughter?

    All my life it’s been drilled into all of us: labels are bad. Never label anyone. Labels put people into boxes, and that’s not right. And now this! Can you explain this effort to put people into boxes, to the majority of us who have been taught that labeling anyone constitutes bigotry?

    • 2016-12-14 at 3:58 pm
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      I can definitely help you out here, Chris. You seem to have a problem with the term “label” when the real issue is that without specific protections and acknowledgments, the LGBTQ community can easily be attacked, teacher can be fired, and students can be victimized with no recourse. In a perfect world, none of this would be needed since everyone would treat each other well. In the real world, protection is needed.

      Hope that helps

    • 2016-12-14 at 4:19 pm
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      This isn’t as difficult a concept as you seem to think it is. The whole goal of the rhetoric you were taught was about eliminating prejudice and treating everyone equally respectfully. This is the exact same goal shared by supporters of keeping the protected groups and expanding them to include LGBTQ people. Instead of “labels,” perhaps you could think of them instead as descriptors. They’re used to identify which people we’re talking about so that we can be sure that those categorical forms of discrimination are explicitly prohibited.

      The “last barriers” did not fall with the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality. Have you heard of Kim Davis? Roy Moore? Even VP-elect Mike Pence, who faced severe blowback after approving a “religious freedom” bill that simply gave businessowners the right to refuse service to LGBTQ customers? President Obama’s executive order forbidding government contractors from discriminating against their LGBTQ employees is now on the chopping block, and Texas legislators are actually pushing a lawsuit that would allow them to refuse benefits to spouses of LGBTQ workers employed by the state. This is far from over.

  • 2016-12-14 at 9:26 am
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    In Montgomery County MD, we have had sexual orientation and gender identity listed in the non-discrimination provisions for years now — and have only had positive results. See, for example, http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/jfara.pdf and http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/uploadedFiles/staff/Refresh_2013_Content_Pieces/0047_17_EmployeeCodeofConduct_BOOKLET_ENG_web.pdf http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/policy/pdf/jhfra.pdf

  • 2016-12-13 at 10:39 pm
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    Quite a few folks spoke in favor of adding LGBTQ to the list of protected groups. Some presented very effective comments.

    However, this group is clearly already special. After nearly every speaker who supported their vote, they audibly clapped even after multiple warnings from Chairman Eric Hornberger to show support only visibly. Undeterred, they kept clapping and hissing down opponents. I guess they believe the rules should be followed only when rules support their view.

    • 2016-12-14 at 10:31 am
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      I was there last night and saw many passionate supporter of protections for all people. You complaint that they did not follow the rules of the meeting is laughable since you refuse to follow widely accepted rules when posting online. You are not one to talk. Also, you attempt to personally attack SB members was cringe worthy – you are not impressing anyone with your ranting or your complaints.

      The story is about changing LCPS policies, not about crowd control

      • 2016-12-14 at 11:28 am
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        CareerSwitcher, please explain how the fact that LCSB members were investigated by a special prosecutor who determined laws were broken is a “personal attack”? These boards members have not disclosed it to the public yet many ran on “transparency”. I guess you believe those who challenged Hillary’s violation of FOIA and email policies were not justified in holding her accountable, they were just making “personal attacks”. Do you ever stop to read what you write before posting?

        BTW, I did not initiate the part about my comments last night on this article. But since you did, I appropriately responded. A righteous, hypocritical @#$% might have suggested you were way off topic and violating “netiquette” in your post. I encourage you to be fully transparent about anything and everything.

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