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Albemarle division to hold information session about transgender student policy

The Albemarle County school division will provide more information about a proposed policy aimed at protecting transgender and gender-expansive students next week.

The information session will be streamed online starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to a news release from the school system. School Board Attorney Ross Holden will present the proposed policy, and then equity specialist Lars Holmstrom will discuss the research that drove the policy’s development and the associated goals.

Livesteaming the meeting means that there won’t be an opportunity for people to ask questions or discuss the policy with the presenters, according to the release. The division said in the release that the livestream form is accessible to large groups of people.

Questions and comments can be emailed to TransgenderPolicyFeedback@k12albemarle.org. All questions will be answered and posted online prior to the board’s Aug. 12 meeting, when the policy will be voted on.

The session can be viewed at streaming.k12albemarle.org under “ACPS Events.”

The School Board reviewed the draft 11-page policy at its meeting July 8 after hearing a slew of comments both supportive and concerned.

The draft policy would ensure students can be addressed by the name and pronouns the student prefers. Neither parental consent nor a legal name change would be required for that to occur. Additionally, the policy says gender-expansive students should be able to play on whichever sports teams and use the bathroom they prefer, among other provisions.

Gender-expansive is a collective term that includes transgender and nonbinary people, all of whom having a gender identity that doesn’t conform to the one they were assigned at birth.

Because of a new state law, all school divisions must adopt policies for transgender students by the start of the 2021-22 school year. The Virginia Department of Education has provided model policies that school boards can adapt.

The session will be held in English but will be posted online within 24 hours to YouTube, which allows viewers to select their preferred language when watching the video.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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