HANOVER COUNTY, Va. — The Hanover County School Board meeting was packed Tuesday night as parents and guardians voiced their thoughts on the county's proposed transgender bathroom policy.
The proposed policy would have transgender and non-binary students apply to the school board to be granted permission to use a different bathroom or locker room. For bathrooms, the application would include a handful of required documents.
The school board would require a student statement, a parent statement, a signed document from a doctor or counselor, disciplinary and criminal records and information related to the privacy of other students.
The board read the proposed policy for the first time on Tuesday night. The policy comes following a lawsuit and a year of back-and-forth from community members on the issue.
At this time, Hanover County Public Schools don't have a specific policy in place to protect transgender students despite a Virginia law that went into effect last summer requiring them to adopt state policies.
The new legislation said that schools can't question how a student chooses to identify themselves, and they must avoid methods that could out students to their parents.
An attorney with Hanover Schools told the board on Tuesday night that the new policy was created after a year-and-a-half of closed sessions on the issue.
They added that the policy was largely crafted by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) that the board has been consulting.
The ADF is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center based on its stance toward the LGBTQ community. According to the ADF's website, the organization calls itself one that protects religious freedom, free speech and parental rights.
Not even half of the community members who signed up to speak had the chance to weigh in on the policy during the meeting as the board limits public comments to an hour.
However, those who did have the chance to speak up used their whole three minutes to explain their views to the board.
“Imagine your children, your grandchildren being asked to run the gambit laid out in the policy. How would that make you feel and them feel. It’s wrong,” said one community member.
Another community member said they believe the majority of Hanover County supports parental rights and safe bathrooms for all students. She believed the proposed policy does both of those things.
The board will hold a public comment specific to this policy next Tuesday at 7 p.m. and will then vote on the policy on Aug. 30.