To the Editor:
The perception from many like me is that the Fairfax County School Board is hungry for national media attention as evidenced by their 2015 vote on the Gender Nonconforming and Transgender Student Policy. The fact is the board has had a strong nondiscrimination policy for many years, its verbiage covered, race, gender, culture, etc. So why did the board take it upon itself to identify and present the transgender issue when only .3 percent (according to a Williams Survey) of the population identified with this issue on a national level? A question never really posed to the board.
The Fairfax County School Board has lost its focus of the real issues such as the delivery of education in a global environment, renovations of current facilities in a timely manner, partnering education opportunities with institutions of higher learning, expanding language programs to the elementary schools, etc. It is my understanding the gender issue became a topic of discussion due to the persistence of a few individuals who took it to an at large member and then later to the local Democratic party. However, board members are to be impartial of political party loyalties but let us not be naive, board votes are driven by party directives.
Our education board is broken if they are letting political parties determine Board topics and votes on matters of curriculum and other issues for the sake of gaining party votes during an election year. Let there be no misunderstanding, this is exactly what the transgender issue is all about, party votes and expanding a social agenda. It is doubtful parents and constituents know the board’s vote in 2015 impacted the budget, student sports, the use of bathrooms, locker rooms, etc. Their seven-page policy is not meant for the occasional light reader.
The board has hit a sensitive nerve with their constituents and parents on this issue and now prefers to shy away from additional media controversy and discussion. In fact many parents are unaware the Transgender Policy is being brought forth again at a School Board Forum on July 14, which proves excellent planning on the board’s part. The month of July is a wonderful time for controversial issues, the timing takes advantage that a large majority of parents and residents are gone on vacation; therefore it is easier to pass motions and generate policies. After such, the board will go into recess and all controversies will seem to be forgotten due to a lack of media attention. Thus there is little vocal objection from the public or notice.
Unfortunately for Elizabeth Schultz, FCPS Springfield District School Board representative, she has little hope in changing anything on this issue due to the board’s political party influence and the timing of this issue. Her vote will continue to be a lonely vote. Common sense and true educational issues have been lost in Fairfax County.
Elizabeth Torpey Bradsher
Former Fairfax County School Board Member