FCPS Welcomes New “Misgendering” and “Deadnaming” Policy to Punish Students (Update)

FCPS Welcomes New Misgendering and Deadnaming Policy to Punish Students (Update)

Brandon Level

On May 26th, the Fairfax County Public School Board is considering rules that could suspend or expel students that “maliciously misgender”, or “maliciously deadname” other students.

The policy would make malicious misgendering and malicious deadnaming deserving of a “level 4 response”, which means individualized intervention that often requires disciplinary action. The principal is able to refer such violations to the superintendent, which the document says “may result in a number of different responses based on circumstances and rarely results in an expulsion.”

The updated rules regarding hate speech also added language “to include outing related to gender identification and immigration status.”

A spokesperson for Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin told Fox News, “local school boards need to be listening to parents and focusing on core issues like school safety, learning loss from shutdowns, and ensuring our students are graduating high school college and career-ready.”

The move comes after two Wisconsin school boys were suspended and served Title IX charges after being accused of using incorrect pronouns to address another student. 

Maria Sherwell is a Fairfax County mother of three kids, she complained about the possible renewal of the policy at a FCPS board meeting.

“My initial concern was that this is kind of like a compelled speech,” she said. “It is requiring children to say something that they may or may not be comfortable with. I worry that this is a violation of their First Amendment. In addition, for students who have a religious obligation or religious ethic that this is something they cannot and would not do, can they be punished for that? I also find that the idea of malicious misgendering is pretty subjective. I don’t feel like it’s adequately defined and I think that it leaves too much room for a faulty punishment. [This policy says] you must refer to me as this or you’ll be punished. I don’t see the difference between that and ‘call me King’. And if you don’t, you’re going to be punished for that.”

Many others showed their disapproval at that same school board meeting, along with on various social media platforms. Some do agree with the move by the school board.

The FCPS Pride Co-President, Robert Rigby, says, “Being misgendered can be traumatic for trans kids,” “Being misgendered over and over deliberately which is what this policy is about is traumatizing to anyone.”

It is to be noted that local news station ABC7 reached out to the FCPS board members and all of them declined to comment on the policy.

UPDATE – Although the board did meet on May 26, they did not vote on the new policy but rather pushed the vote off until June 16. It is to be noted that pushback is still strong and growing, the (AFL), or America First Legal, sent a scorching letter to the board over their “significant constitutional concerns” and “deeply troubling questions” about the policy change. That note could have had an effect on the policy vote pushback.