Francisco Durán, the Arlington Public Schools superintendent, announced he would not comply with Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) new educational policy that targets transgender students for discrimination. Durán made a public statement outlining his reasoning for parents in the district.
For his decision, Durán cited federal court decisions, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Virginia’s Department of Education introduced policies last week that would force students to use bathrooms, pronouns, and names that align with their sex assigned at birth. The guidelines went into effect immediately.
“I reaffirm our unwavering support for our LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and community. I want our transgender, non-binary, and gender fluid students to hear loud and clear that you belong here, you are valued, and we stand with and support you,” Durán said.
“I oppose any policy that infringes upon the rights of our students and threatens the safety and well-being of our LGBTQIA+ students. APS will continue to uphold our core mission and follow our policies to ensure that every child receives equal educational access and opportunities. We fully support our transgender and LGBTQIA+ students and value the many diverse identities within our schools, where every student can authentically express themselves, feel valued and have a genuine sense of belonging.”
Youngkin’s 2022 election campaign highlighted “parents’ rights” in opposition to so-called “woke” anti-racist education and trans-inclusive school policies. The VDOE’s new policies will affect the estimated 4,000 transgender students in Virginia among the state’s 1.2 million public school students.
The state’s previous governor enacted policies allowing students to use school facilities and participate in programs matching their gender identities. The earlier policies also required schools to accommodate students’ chosen names and pronouns.
“We will continue to model and live our values in support of inclusion, belonging, well-being, and access to quality education,” Durán told parents. “To this end, our current policies and procedures that protect, affirm, and celebrate transgender, non-binary, and gender-fluid students are of paramount importance in adhering to these ideals.”