The Prince William County school board has passed new anti-discrimination measures for LGBTQ students and staff, a move that marks the end of a contentious fight that raged over the course of the last year.
The board voted 5-3 on June 21 to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, following a second lengthy meeting on the subject after the board previously voted to delay consideration of the policy change last September. Acting member Shawn Brann of the Brentsville District, Willie Deutsch of the Coles District and Alyson Satterwhite of the Gainesville District cast the dissenting votes.
More than 500 people attended the board’s meeting in Bristow, though purple-clad supporters of the nondiscrimination measures dominated the board’s chambers. When lawmakers considered the same change last fall, it was hundreds of opponents donned in red who packed the room.
But several advocacy groups, including Equality Virginia and Virginia’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, focused on whipping support for the policy change over the last few weeks. A variety of local lawmakers — including Congressman Gerry Connolly, D-11th District, and many of the county’s Democratic state representatives — also wrote letters to the board urging them to support the policy alteration.
Yet dozens of opponents expressed frustration with the change, citing concern that the new policy would let students use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, while others worried that courts around the country have yet to issue concrete opinions on similar policies.
I absolutely support non-discrimination laws. I also heard what people said, including some school board members about not really needing additional policies about protecting people in the LGBT community because the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provided these protections. Oh BULLSHIT. Not really. I can tell you of 100s of examples just in PWC alone where such has not been the case.
This policy is not about bathrooms. It is about discrimination. I heard some mighty ignorant folks speak tonight. They talked about things that simply were not true and some quoted a lot of scripture. Most of those people appeared, at least to me, to be extremely homophobic. It was scary. I found it astounding that people got up and started preaching. There is simply no form of Christianity that supports discrimination that I am aware of. Furthermore, no government agency should be basing its policy on scripture from any religion.
I found it almost amusing that people gathered so called “facts” to cover up that they were really homophobic. Other folks just didn’t bother. They let their homophobia shine…loud and clear.
Shame on Greg Letiecq for publishing the names and addresses of some of those who wanted to speak tonight. Greg knows better than putting those addresses online. He knows all about redacting private information as well as the dangers of putting out personal information along with highly inflammable topics. The Sheriff of Nottingham did the right thing by handling the information (which he should not have had) responsibly. He redacted the personal information eventually. It should have never been posted in the first place but at least SoN removed the addresses.
All and all, it tonight was a victory for people who care about students and staff in PWC. Tonight’s vote just made it a little easier to ensure that the learning/work environment in Prince William County Schools was a safe one, free from discrimination.