Eighth-grade girl blasts school board for policy that would allow 'boys into girls' locker rooms'
Loudoun school board members told: 'Everyone knows what a boy is – even you'
A 14-year-old in Virginia is speaking out about what she says is a sexist move by Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) to allow "boys into girls' locker rooms."
The policy followed a previous one, 1040, that committed the county to providing an equitable, safe and inclusive working environment regardless of "sexual orientation, gender identity" and other individual characteristics. The more recent proposed policy – 8350 – states in a draft that "students should be allowed to use the facility that corresponds to their gender identity."
At Tuesday's school board meeting, Jolene Grover, who was wearing a shirt that read "Woman is female" argued: "Two years ago, I was told policy 1040 was just an umbrella philosophy and you weren't going to allow boys into the girls' locker rooms. But here you are doing just that."
Grover is an eighth grader whose mom pulled her out of an LCPS school last year after seeing various controversial policies emerging. She is currently homeschooled.
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"Everyone knows what a boy is – even you," she added, looking up at the board members. "Your proposed policies are dangerous and rooted in sexism. When woke kids ask me if I was a lesbian or a trans boy because I cut my hair short, it should tell you these modern identities are superficial."
In an interview with Fox News Thursday, Grover said she worried that LCPS' new rule would lead to girls being harassed and assaulted.
During her speech, she claimed that her guidance counselor responded to her concerns about privacy and safety by noting that the bathrooms had stalls. Fox News hasn't confirmed this and LCPS declined to comment on Grover's speech.
"Now, boys are reading erotica in the classroom next to girls," she added during Tuesday's speech, "and you want to give them access to girls' locker rooms and you want to force girls to call those boys 'she.'"
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"You do this in the name of inclusivity while ignoring the girls who will pay the price. Your policies choose boys' wants over girls' needs."
Grover's comments were just one of many related to gender as participants responded to the ongoing controversy surrounding Tanner Cross. Cross was suspended last month after giving a now-viral speech in which he opposed the district's proposed policies on gender.
He told the school board he wouldn't "affirm that a biological boy can be a girl and vice versa because it's against my religion. It's lying to a child, it's abuse to a child, and it's sinning against our God."
Just days after that speech, Cross was told in a letter not to come on the school's premises. The letter vaguely stated the school district was investigating "allegations that you engaged in conduct that has had a disruptive impact on the operations" of his school. A judge ordered LCPS on Tuesday to reinstate Cross, arguing it violated his right to free speech.
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Cross had referred to draft policy 8040, which required Loudoun staff to use preferred pronouns.
"LCPS staff shall allow gender-expansive or transgender students to use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity without any substantiating evidence, regardless of the name and gender recorded in the student’s permanent educational record," it read.
"School staff shall, at the request of a student or parent/legal guardian, when using a name or pronoun to address the student, use the name and pronoun that correspond to their gender identity. The use of gender-neutral pronouns are appropriate. Inadvertent slips in the use of names or pronouns may occur; however, staff or students who intentionally and persistently refuse to respect a student’s gender identity by using the wrong name and gender pronoun are in violation of this policy."
Others at the meeting suggested LCPS' policies were righteous pursuits or love and inclusion.
Wearing a rainbow pin and mask, state Sen. Jennifer Boysko told the board: "I want to thank you for your commitment to equality and making sure every child feels loved and valued." Another remote speaker argued policies like 8040 weren't new and would make "trans and gender-expansive kids feel a little more welcome."
Some women and girls, though, have started questioning the cost of such policies.
The issue has become especially pertinent in women's athletics. Fox News reported last week on how five-time national track champion Shannon Arena argued "transgender athletes will diminish opportunities for biological women."
"It’s not equality because when you’re competing against a biological male, it’s not an equal playing field – even if they are on hormones," she told Fox News.
Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have defended the more inclusive policies in athletics and school facilities. In 2016, the ACLU's James Esseks penned a blog post titled "Anti-Trans Bathroom Bills Have Nothing to Do With Privacy and Everything To Do With Fear and Hatred."
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"As a threshold matter, no one is proposing letting boys into girls’ bathrooms," said Esseks. "Preying on misinformation about transgender people and calling trans girls boys, advocates for these harmful measures decry the fictitious end of sex-segregated spaces altogether."
"But even beyond the absurd distortions peddled in state legislatures across the country, these purported privacy justifications for unconstitutional government discrimination aren’t remotely persuasive. It does not infringe anyone else’s rights to share public space with those who are different."