Chesapeake School Board unanimously approves revisions to nondiscrimination policy

Chesapeake

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Chesapeake Public Schools officials have decided to move forward with changes to the division’s nondiscrimination policy for students.

On Monday night, the Chesapeake School Board unanimously voted to approve revisions to its current nondiscrimination policy.

The revisions add protections to ensure students and faculty are treated equally regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The term “inclusivity” was also added to the policy. School officials say the revisions will set the foundation for more protections for students and staff in the future. The district’s policy has not been amended since 2013.

Chesapeake and Virginia Beach were the only schools in the Hampton Roads area that started the year without a set policy, which is required by the state.

Just last month, the proposed policy changes didn’t even make it to a vote before the Chesapeake School Board. One board member made a motion to consider the policy, but the matter failed due to a lack of a supporting second from another board member.

The changes considered last month were based on model guidance from the Virginia Department of Education. The policies are meant to set protections for students that identify as transgender or nonbinary by allowing them to use restrooms and other facilities according to their chosen gender identity and play gender-specific sports on the team they identify with.

The new changes are not the same as the VDOE’s model policy, but they do strengthen the division’s current protections and align with requirements by state law to include non-discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

This is according to the Virginia Department of Education. While the VDOE issued a model policy, it’s a guideline for districts to follow and schools have the freedom to change their current policies to align with the state law. 

There were 53 people signed up to speak at Monday night’s school board meeting. Topics of discussion included the transgender policy, mask wearing in school and the district’s bus driver shortage.

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