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Hanover School Board to discuss possible amendments to transgender student policies

Hanover County School Board.png
Posted at 10:25 PM, May 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 15:39:59-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- The Hanover School Board will meet on Thursday to discuss possible amendments to their transgender student policies.

It's a topic that has drawn crowds to school board meetings for a number of months.

The controversy stems from the board's decision not to adopt a 2020 Virginia law that protects against the discrimination of non-binary and transgender students by allowing them to use the bathroom or locker room which they identify with.

After the vote, the Virginia chapter of the ACLU filed a lawsuit on the behalf of a number of parents who claimed the board violated state law and the Virginia Department of Education's model policies.

In March, the school board voted to bring in outside legal counsel to review the policy and chose the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

The Southern Poverty Law Center has called the ADF an anti-LGBTQ+ hate group while the ADF said they protect religious freedom, free speech, marriage and the sanctity of life.

The Hanover School District has shared little about where they are so far in the process, claiming it is due to attorney-client privilege.

CBS 6 was able to obtain the contract between the district and the ADF. The contract was put into effect on March 29 by chairwoman Ola Hawkins on behalf of the board.

The contract states that the ADF is giving free legal review, and that the ADF is not representing them in pending lawsuits.

CBS 6 asked where the ADF stands in consulting the Hanover School Board.

In a statement, ADF's Vice President of Legal Strategy said the board is committed to providing excellence in education. They said they are doing so by adhering to the law and advancing a culture of dignity and respect for all staff and students.

Board documents show that the school board will consult with legal counsel regarding the case and possible amendments to the transgender policy at their Thursday night meeting.

The board will then come out of that closed session to certify their discussion.

If they seek and policy changes they will follow their practice publishing them one month in advance. A Hanover spokesperson said they have no plans to take action on any policy matters tonight.

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