A strongly opinionated teacher of ten years was one of the speakers among the hundreds at the Loudoun Country public school board in Northern Virginia as it prepared to vote on its new transgender policy following the passage of new state laws.
The board postponed its vote until Wednesday after hearing more than 150 members of the public for more than 4 hours on Tuesday.
The teacher in question, Laura Morris, said she had been a teacher for ten years and recently quit her job in front of the school board ahead of the vote on the new transgender policy.
Ms. Morris told the board that she has "struggled with the idea of returning to school" because she knew she would be "working yet again with the school division that despite its shiny tech and flashy salary, promotes political ideologies that do not square with who I am as a believer in Christ."
The policy says that transgender children should be allowed to: "Use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their consistently asserted gender identity," with the staff having to respect their wishes.
"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," the new guidelines state.
And under the policy, students will also be allowed to use bathrooms and changing rooms that "correspond to their consistently asserted gender identity" and staff should "take steps to designate gender-inclusive or single-user restrooms commensurate with the size of the school".
"All school mental health professionals shall complete training on topics relating to LGBTQ+ students, including procedures for preventing and responding to bullying, harassment, and discrimination based on gender identity/expression."
But Ms. Morris wasn't on board at all...
"Within the last year, I was told in one of my so-called equity training that white Christian able-bodied females currently have the power in our schools, and that quote, 'this has to change".
The @LCPSOfficial school board is recessing until tomorrow at 5:30pm because of the number of speakers and how long… https://t.co/ar6RZJYjva— Jess Arnold (@Jess Arnold) 1628641771.0
She then became increasingly emotional: "You've made your point. You no longer value me, or many other teachers you've employed in this county. So since my contract outlines the power that you have over my employment in Loudon County Public Schools, I thought it necessary to resign in front of you."
"School board, I quit. I quit your policies, I quit your training, and I quit being a cog in a machine that tells me to push highly politicized agendas on our most vulnerable constituents – the children. I will find employment elsewhere. I encourage all parents and staff in this county to flood the private schools," she said.
School Board Chair Brenda Sheridan said on June 22nd: "We will not back down from fighting for the rights of our students and continuing our focus on equity."
She called for an end to "politically motivated antics" and added that "loud voices aiming to make our schools a political battleground will not silence the work for our students".
And Emily Hart, a substitute teacher, exclaimed that the policy would: "Force teachers to act against their sincerely held religious beliefs."
Rene Camp, a mother of 3, then said: "I'm a Christian mom, and I believe what God... created us male and female," as per WUSA9. "We respect everyone just as we should respect everybody. Now that boys and girls are allowed to mix bathrooms, my daughter might not be safe in any of those bathrooms."
But parents of transgender students stepped up and praised the move on equality that allows their children access to the education they deserve, with one parent expressing that they wished their transgender child had these policies in place when his son went through school without the support he needed.
What do you think of these new rules?