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.




47 Thoughts to “PWCSB passes anti-discrimination measures for LGBTQ students and staff”

  1. It was a very moving event and got the opportunity to meet so many people that breathed a sigh of relief after the vote. I do believe that many people were misinformed and others just did not care to be informed, so they could express their 1917 mindset. Now the community needs to work with the School Board so that all community members can have input into the implementation of this policy change. Whether you’re a teacher, counselor, administrator, parent or anyone else wanting to learn how to support transgender students more effectively, keep in mind that this process is doable. Working as a team, you can overcome any obstacle that arises, and in the end, you will have made a meaningful difference in not only the student’s life, but in the lives of their family, other students, educators and those in your community.

    1. Some of the raging ignorance that I heard really sickened me. Joe, you are right, 1917 mindsets!

      I am appalled that those names, coupled with addresses, were released without redacting the addresses and I am even more appalled that an elected official released those addresses to blogs, no less. Bob Marshall was irresponsible. But I expected no better from him. I do expect better from fellow bloggers. I know that Greg knows better.

      Citizens should not have to fear speaking out in public because some wacko might get their address and do God knows what.

  2. Kelly_3406

    Girls may not want to participate in sports in which they are likely to be trounced by transgender athletes. We have already seen transgender athletes competing against girls and winning titles in such sports as wrestling and track. This measure could therefore suppress female participation in Prince William high school athletics and hamper the ability of schools to comply with Title IX.

    Was there any discussion of this issue?

    1. Mom


      There is currently no room for discussion of any issue before the School Board, meaningful or trivial. The school board has turned into a raging dumpster fire that deals with everything except the education of the county’s children. Now before someone starts throwing rocks at me, the dumpster fire is principally fueled by one from each camp, the megalomanical Chairman and the functional ‘tard from the Coles District.

      1. Robin Hood


        I don’t think the blame game is appropriate, but the drama has not been helpful. Some people seem to be trying to do the right thing the wrong way, which makes it worse instead of better.

      2. I could read a lot into your statement. I think I agree with you, generally speaking.

        I deliberately stayed out of the drama and am a Johnny Come Lately to this party. However, I will stand up on my hind quarters and start howling when innocent people have their addresses released to the public. Like I said, both Marshall and Greg know better.

        So when do the prayer vigils in front of someone who is on that list’s house begin?

      3. NorthofNokesville

        Robin Hood,

        Sawyers is an embarrassment. Personally, professionally, politically I work with a broad range of folks (ideologically, culturally, demographically), and he’s one of the worst I’ve seen in action. He’s failed to do much substantively as chairman at large, his antics are shameful, and he’s a walking arsenal of collateral damage for his allies. Goofballs like him actually set back the cause of better outcomes for LGBTQX… The Blue Team needs to exercise some quality control and #86 that order.

      4. Robin Hood


        It appears that he inserted speakers on the citizen comment time list without checking who was already there. I used to make allowances for him because Pool the School Milt preferred swimming pools over classrooms and Sawyers was new to politics. I’m not sure if you read what I wrote, but I will repeat that this was a case of trying to do the right thing the wrong way.

      5. NorthofNokesville

        Robin Hood,

        RH – That’s the stock defense of Sawyers, but it’s tired (and I suspect you’re tired of offering it). He’s whiffing or absent on the central issues (over-crowding and quality), and when he deals with secondary issues (special funding, discrimination) he’s a hot mess. The secondary issues matter, but they’re not the “core business.” This guy has topped out. If I were advising him I’d say “Ryan, cut the posturing and spend a year trying to be good at the core job and maturing into a leadership role.” This isn’t Little League anymore.

        Moon – I don’t know the policy for releasing addresses is (and I agree that’s unseemly) but someone voluntarily speaking at a public meeting has no expectation of anonymity or privacy. There’s a good reason to require statement of residence, and frankly even with just a name it would take about two minutes online to find an address. Normal protections against trespass, harassment, etc, have some teeth in them. There’s also the 2A option 🙂

      6. I am smiling at the 2A option. I resent having to bellow my address at the polls. In fact, I feel like it is a violation of my privacy. Anyone within earshot is automatically entitled to my residence. This is almost a safety hazard if someone wanted to beat my brains in. It particularly irritates me because the poll worker is holding my license in his or her hand.

        So back to those residency statements–actually, all that is needed nowadays (since the immigration issue) is for a speaker to state their magisterial district. After all, what difference does it make, in most cases, where a person lives. They shouldn’t have to give up their 1A rights to speak to local government.

      7. NorthofNokesville


        Moon – It’s not a perfect system, and you get fringe cases (like someone who is homeless…. what do they say? “You mean tonight? Or last night?” I just don’t have that much of an issue. You can imagine Art Silber shipping in “Kohls District” residents to shore up Nohe’s vote on the stadium debacle, for example.

      8. It happens all the time. Remember our immigration wars? People from all over the United States wrote to the supervisors. Probably half the letters our supervisors received were from not just out of county, but also out of state.

        I just don’t see why it matters where you live if you are giving your opinion. It’s an opinion, not a deposition. If people want to follow up their speech with an email that includes their address…that’s their business. Also, that address should never be released on a FOIA unless the speech is about that specific address.

        Apparently you have never been a target because of your political stance like Elena and I have been. Email me and I will share. Let me know that you have done it because I don’t check that email daily.

      9. NorthofNokesville


        sorry I dropped out of the exchange… life intrudes, as they say… I would like to hear, actually. The more I see from the tops of both PWCSB and BOCS, the more I think we’re run by thugs. I will email you privately.

      10. Robin Hood


        Most counties in Virginia elect their boards by district and let the chairmanship rotate among the members. Think of the possibilities! No tie votes, more respect among colleagues and less time to campaign for higher office are among the potential benefits. It’s clearly not working well for us as it is.

        As long as I’m here, let me add that many prudent speakers just mention in their introduction that the clerk has their address. The problem here was that the bulk registration of speakers was released in response to a FOIA and leaked to at least one blogger who reproduced it and then partially redacted it. Multiple actors abused the process.

      11. One blogger didn’t redact. There is something wrong with the process when people feel intimidated because they want to speak out on issues.

        There is also something wrong with the voting process when voters feel intimidated to state their full name and address because of those lurking in “official” capacity.

      12. I have no problem with adding LGBTQ protection to our staff and students. It is long overdue. I believe Mr. Sawyers has been heavy-handed and perhaps not the best messenger for these initiatives.

        There are still people out there who think “them queers are going to start using the bathroom with my little Susie or my little Johnny.” Those people need to be educated and convinced that their children are safe, not riled up into a frenzy over the “Liberal do-gooder.” Good will often might have to start by convincing people that the student population isn’t changing. It has to include the fact that most people don’t want to admit that they would discriminate against children. Parents also need assurance that a “special class” isn’t being created who will get more than their kids.

        Laughing at my examples? Don’t. I heard each of them expressed in one for or another either in person or on TV in the past week.

      13. NorthofNokesville


        Moon – The challenge (a challenge at least) is that anecdotes of these types of opportunistic behavior of varying degrees of veracity are in circulation. Some are true, and some (particularly around athletics where gender is blurred) seem unfair. But all are very uncommon, which needs to be said. There are also remedies and safeguards, which get far less attention. If you’re selling me an issue, then sell me and do a basic job of overcoming objections versus sheer emotionalism and hamfisted process. And there’s also a lot of bad behavior already that happens that’s more detrimental, but schools deal with it and parents rely on them to do so (example: cell phone camera abuse in locker rooms). A leader is responsible for achieving objectives but also for the casualties that result. The “how” matters.

      14. Robin Hood


        The last time I checked “used to ” puts the action in the past, and that’s what applies when I say that I used to make allowances for him because his predecessor was bad.

        I get very frustrated when people start composing their replies instead of paying attention to what they read or hear.

        The fact that only one member has served a complete four year term and another who has is on reserve duty has been ignored for political motives. There’s a reason why the membership turned over and some people don’t want to admit that.

      15. NorthofNokesville

        Robin Hood,

        It’s a dysfunctional and largely unimpressive board, to be sure (some barely literate / functional), which seems to be a continuation of the previous in that regard. I’m not familiar with the prior board, just calling what I see happening right now. I’d take a decent, competent moderate (light blue or light red) any day.

      16. I would actually prefer not to know someone’s party affiliation. The elected school boards were set up that way to escape partisanship. PWC really does violate that requirement.

      17. NorthofNokesville


        Agree. I’d also be in favor of making it a requirement to pass 8th grade literacy, math, and social studies; and 4th grade behavioral norms at a min. That would trim at least 3.

      18. I am laughing. When I first started teaching in this county back in the dark ages, one of the school board members had a 5th grade education.

        I would also like for all of them to understand the 4th grade LA objective, recognizing cause and effect.

        I just don’t follow the school board as a general rule. Why? I was subjugated by them more years than I want to publicly admit. I have dealt with more stupid edicts over the years. I have also known a few wonderful school board members who dedicated their lives to making things better for staff and kids. I only rise up over a few issues. For the most part, the baton has been passed and people should fight their own battles.

        Basically, I just find it entirely too frustration to follow most of the BS. Btw, I absolutely do not let the BOCS off the hook for any of this. They should have funded education rather than chasing illegal immigrants and other such nonsense.

      19. Robin Hood


        The board has eight members and four of them were first elected in 2015. Two were elected to fill vacancies in 2012 and 2013.

        Of course, we have secret ballots, but part of the reason for the turnover has been attributed to the previous board’s complacency after one party control for nearly two decades. The previous chairman’s support of swimming pools over classrooms and his intimidation of teachers who lobbied for raises were widely resented.

        The new board’s mistakes have gotten a lot of attention because the GOP wants their board back. This board has given the Board of Supervisors a plan to catch up classroom construction and staff smaller classes, but it hasn’t been funded yet. It might solve the problem if they can stop picking fights and drum up support for what needs to be done.

        They have also acted to improve staff morale but the flair for political drama has backfired on that effort as well.

        What you are seeing is too much politics and too little governance.

        When confronted with such criticism the response resembles a refrain from Sinatra’s “I Did It My Way.”

      20. Robin Hood,

        “This board has given the Board of Supervisors a plan to catch up classroom construction and staff smaller classes, but it hasn’t been funded yet.”

        If the provision for School Board Staff is removed, then that supplemental proposal has a better chance of getting funded.

      21. Robin Hood

        Joe George,

        With all of the commotion about the baseball stadium I can’t be sure, but I don’t think Frank Principi included school board staff in his proposal to the BOCS. They need to make the class size issue more of a priority and work it to a conclusion.

      22. While we are at it, I need to say that classroom size has been a real issue in this county long before this current board was elected. I had classes with 35 kids in them and one with 38 on 9/11/01.

        The problem is, the ostrich syndrome.

      23. Robin Hood


        When I was in the school system raising the student-teacher ratio was administration’s way of absorbing budget cuts. It went to absurd levels in the last recession and since both boards were controlled by the same party until 2015 not much was done. Now it’s a political football.

      24. Please elaborate. Either I am having a slow day or there is something I don’t know.

      25. Robin Hood


        If you mean to ask what should be done, there’s not much until the BOCS is done with the Potomac Nationals deal. They have beaten the referendum but I’ve read that the should be one more vote on the final agreement. That has soaked up all of the attention over there.

        Once that is out of the way school leaders should get behind Principi’s proposal and do it in a way to win friends rather than make enemies.

      26. It is a young group, in terms of experience, that’s for sure. I want to bring back my personal favorite SB member. DR. Don knew what he was doing. I felt he got railroaded.

        I find it hilarious that his “ouster” ran on a school book issue but won’t respond to my email about ensuring that every student have an assigned text book in core areas of study. I am still angry of the end run two board members pulled on the math department. That stunt was also for political motives and frankly, it stunk.

      27. Robin Hood


        Was that the “Math Investigations” issue? Well, what do you know! 2007 was a school board election year. What a coincidence! Since you didn’t name names I can’t be sure, but I think at least one of them is still there!

      28. One is still there and the other one is on sabbatical. Yes, Investigations. Email me. The textbook problem still hasn’t been corrected. The board refuses (apparently) to enforce its own regs. There are examples of textbook class sets all over the county. It is an attempt to save money.

        I have to stop talking about it. I am ruining my Friday evening.

      29. Robin Hood


        If they haven’t fixed it the reason why could be the only ones who are still there are the ones who did what they did way back when. You have my email. I don’t have yours.

      30. Mom,

        I also think that is another issue. I do like the statement of non-discrimination. 10 years ago it couldn’t have happened. If anyone things LGBT kids haven’t been discriminated against, I can assure you that they have. Some things just need to be spelled out.

        I am upset that those people who wanted to speak had their names and addresses put out there. From what I gathered from reading other blogs and the press, , the entire issue has been mishandled. Unfortunately, those whose names were exposed really aren’t at fault.

        I would like to see county policy be set to redact specific addresses when information like this is issued as the result of FOIA. An even better idea would be to tell people NOT to give their specific address–just state the magisterial district.

        Something is just not right when a person is hesitant to speak publicly (or contact his or her representative) because personal information like an address could be given out for public view.

    2. Kelly_3406,

      Not from me. I just think that is another issue. My only issue at the moment is about a statement of discrimination.

      I also am very disgusted that speakers’ names and addresses were released. I know how this information can be misused.

    3. Kelly_3406,

      The Virginia High School League has covered that a few years ago.

      PURPOSE: The intent of the Transgender Rule is to clarify the process for allowing transgender students to be approved
      to participate in the gender consistent with their gender identity and expression and with their transgender transition.
      Procedure – Appeals will be reviewed by the District Committee and the Compliance Director, with appeal of adverse
      decisions to the Executive Committee (or a duly authorized sub-committee thereof) as outlined in Sections 28 and 33-1-
      1 through 33-7-1 (6).
      Vote Requirement: Majority of the District Committee, followed by approval of the Compliance Director. In the event
      either recommends denial, then two-thirds of the Executive Committee (or a duly authorized sub-committee thereof).
      Waiver WILL be considered:
      A. For a student-athlete who has undergone sex reassignment before puberty.
      B. For any student who is verified by appropriate medical documentation as having a consistent identity different
      than the gender listed on the student’s official birth certificate or school registration records.
      C. For any student where hormonal therapy appropriate for the assigned sex has been administered in a verifiable
      manner and for a sufficient length of time to minimize gender-related advantages in sports competition.
      Waiver WILL NOT be considered:
      A. If the student competed in a VHSL activity in one gender and subsequently requests a waiver to compete in the
      other gender without sufficient documentation to show compliance within the timeframe between activities.
      B. For loss of eligibility, as a result of reassignment preventing the student from exercising an opportunity to
      C. For situations in which the student and/her parent/guardian make/made a decision which results in
      participation in the inappropriate identifying gender.
      D. If it is determined that the gender identity is not bona fide or is for the purpose of gaining an unfair advantage in
      competitive athletics.

  3. Pat.Herve

    It is very obvious that many of the people who are posting comments here, and have opinions here – have not read the policy that was voted on. Educate yourselves – read it before commenting further.

    1. Robin Hood


      It passed with an amendment as I recall , so you might have to go to the video or wait for the posting.

    2. What comments are you referring to, Pat?

      Want to provide a link for us.

      My issue is that people’s names and addresses were released to the blogs. (not mine) I think that was horrible. I am pleased with the end result. I didnt involve myself with all the posturing and personalities. It was handled on other blogs by people who have much more tolerance for minutia than I do.

      1. Pat.Herve


        Here is the link to the proposal (change in policy) –$file/P060%20Redline%208-23-16.pdf

        The Willie amendment (even though he could not define it) was to ask the Administration to ensure student privacy. He also tried an amendment that no one need to violate their religious beliefs.

      2. Pat.Herve,

        I thought the Willie amendments were ridiculous, especially the “violate their religious beliefs” part.

        I am not sure what he really meant by it so my imagination ran wild. If taken literally, it could mean that it might violate someone’s religious beliefs to not beat a gay kid with a stick.

        Willie is so young and so green. I believe his own background gets in the way of common sense.

        Thanks for leaving the link. It was as I thought. Nothing new. Like I said, I had stayed out of the fray. Enough people were chiming in, attacking lots of things because they didn’t want to be accused of attacking gay staff and students…when they really wanted to.

        I get it that LGBTQ issues offend some people. The problem is, we don’t get to pick and choose who other people are. Even if LGBTQ folks offend us, they are here to stay and we don’t have the right to discriminate against them. No one should be discriminated against and sometimes, we just have to spell it all out.

  4. El Guapo

    Just my thoughts on this: I am for making gay people and transgender people feel comfortable. People walking around being gay doesn’t affect me anymore than someone walking around drinking chocolate milk. I’d like for LGBT people to feel comfortable in society just like anyone else.

    But at the same time I understand the fear that some people might have. I have a little buddy from Armenia, and she’s a bee-bopping little teenager. Her mom told me that if they every permitted “boys” to use the girls’ bathrooms (they’re in Fairfax), then she’d make Irina wear diapers to school. I understand that.

    So at the same time we take action to make LGBT people comfortable, we need to take some action, I don’t know what it is, to make the moms and other people who don’t get it understand.

    1. What I don’t understand is why people think boys are going to suddenly have access to the girls’ bathroom. I know, someone read it in some right wing “family fuzzy” article.

      Girls have stalls anyway. What’s the issue? Henny Penny the sky is falling! Shriek.

    2. El Guapo,

      Let her be comforted by the fact transgendered students and staff are already using the bathroom at her daughter’s school and no incidents have been reported. She’s more than likely safe to still go to the bathroom.

      1. Excellent point. I find it amazing that some folks think we are going to import transgendered students.

      2. Robin Hood


        I’ve been around this stuff all of my life. Every time somebody gets their civil rights we’re told that the world will come to an end. Then it doesn’t.

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