Parents protest malicious misgendering rule

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ASPartOfMe
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30 May 2022, 12:22 pm

Fairfax County students may be suspended for 'malicious misgendering' under proposed plan

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This school board has got to go,” said Maria Sherwell. "This makes Loudoun [County School Board] look calm."

Sherwell is a mom to three kids and she says the Fairfax County School Board is pushing political policies without parental input.

“I feel and I'm not alone, that their role is to take control of our children and push parents out of the room,” she said. “It moves their agenda forward.”

Sherwell is frustrated that her school board is expected to renew a policy that would suspend students for up to five days if they don’t use their peer’s preferred gender pronouns – or what FCPS calls “malicious misgendering.”

My initial concern was that this is kind of like a compelled speech," she said. "It is requiring children to say something that they may or may not be comfortable with. I worry that this is a violation of their First Amendment. And in addition, for students who have a religious obligation or religious ethic that this is something they cannot and would not do, can they be punished for that? I also find that the idea of malicious misgendering is pretty subjective. I don't feel like it's adequately defined and I think that it leaves too much room for a faulty punishment. [This policy says] you must refer to me as this or you'll be punished. I don't see the difference between that and 'call me King'. And if you don't, you're going to be punished for that."

On Tuesday, 7News reached out to all of the Fairfax County School Board members for interviews to discuss the policy. None of them agreed to do interviews.

On Monday, 7News reached out to FCPS for an interview with the Superintendent.

FCPS declined to talk on camera, instead, providing a statement saying, “this update relates to the purposeful and deliberate misgendering of a student aimed at causing harm. Currently, this applies to middle and high school students only.”

eff Hoffman, a Fairfax County father, says schools need to focus on addressing learning loss which was further exacerbated by the pandemic.

“The schools have a lot of work to do,” said Hoffman. “The gender political conversation needs to go to the sidelines. Let’s learn to read and write. This has nothing to do with anti-transgender. I am first and foremost an advocate for everybody's freedom of choice and liberty, right, regardless of culture, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. So I want to make that very clear. This is about the parents in Fairfax County."

Hoffman is requesting the school board to do two things.

"Delay your vote on the Student Rights & Responsibility regulation and host an "in-person" parent townhall or listening session to discuss the language," he said. "Publish a public report that highlights all the "gender-expansive" additions, changes, and budget investments like Family Life Education you have adopted since the passage of mandates from Virginia State Senate transgender students a policy legislation in 2020."

Meanwhile, many in Fairfax County’s LGBTQ+ community feel this policy is needed.

“Being misgendered can be traumatic for trans kids,” said Robert Rigby, the FCPS Pride Co-President. “Being misgendered over and over deliberately which is what this policy is about is traumatizing to anyone.”

The policy would also allow schools to suspend students for "deadnaming." The policy defines "deadnaming" as "when someone, intentionally or not, refers to a person who is transgender or gender-expansive by a name other than their own chosen name."


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30 May 2022, 2:12 pm

What is wrong with suspending kids for bullying their peers? If you know someone's gender pronoun and insist on calling them a different one, that's bullying.

When I was a teen I didn't dress very feminine and a lot of times had short hair, and I didn't appreciate when bullies asked if I was a boy or girl, just to bother me when they already knew I was a girl.


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30 May 2022, 6:45 pm

It almost seemed they labeled the rule in a way to own the conservatives. This would have been better as an addition or an adjustment to the current anti-bullying policies. In today's climate, there still would have been a degree of blowback but it would be more obvious that it would be coming from bigoted bully parents.

A few years back in almost all of the comment sections of youtube videos and blogs about autism you would get people correcting anybody that used "Autistic" or "Autistic person". I could have gone all hysterical and accused them of being ablest this and ableist that. I just told them I have probably a lot more experience than you do with this condition and if my labeling myself is wrong that does not negatively affect you. That shut them up every time. You rarely see that form of bullying anymore.

But this is America, we can't just win a debate, we have got to cancel them and utterly destroy their reputation.


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kraftiekortie
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30 May 2022, 6:48 pm

If the misgendering is really malicious, then I agree.

If it was just a mistake, I wouldn’t agree.



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31 May 2022, 1:24 am

Misgendering in school is a new problem that was created.



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31 May 2022, 5:50 am

Being called the wrong gender pronoun makes me sad for a little while. (Considering that different pronouns have the same pronunciation in Chinese, there are not too many times when it is really "wrong")
But I don't want to cause others to suspend.
Because I do look basically like a girl. It is not someone else's duty to make assumptions.


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