Accomack School Board doesn’t adopt state-required protections for transgender, nonbinary students; will revisit the issue

Accomack County

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — The Accomack County School Board has declined to adopt a policy implementing state-outlined protections for transgender and nonbinary students.

However, the topic will be revisited.

The board voted 4-4 with one member abstaining on the issue to adopt a nondiscrimination policy, according to Accomack School Board Chairman Paul Bull. The policy, as outlined by the state, allows transgender and nonbinary students to use the pronouns of their choice, as well as use bathrooms and locker rooms and play on sports teams that align with their gender identity.

Bull responded to a 10 On Your Side inquiry on Wednesday, saying the board will address the issue again “since it is the law.” The state requires all divisions to adopt a policy that aligns with that of the state. However, the state superintendent of education has said divisions will not face state repercussions for not adopting protections, but could face lawsuits from students and their families.

Bull said “moving forward, procedures will accompany the policy to ensure the safety of all students.”

“I feel that the 4/4/1(abstained) vote was due to lack of information regarding how we would address bathroom and locker room issues once the policy is adopted. This policy will be addressed at a later meeting after a team has been organized to address issues of concern,” Bull wrote in the email Wednesday.

During the meeting, several residents and parents also spoke against the model policy.

Many school divisions across Virginia have chosen to either adopt the state model policy or a variation of it. Some divisions, such as Newport News Public Schools and Chesapeake Public Schools, needed to revisit the issue after initially declining to adopt the policy.

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