Virginia: Parents, Teachers Sue Harrisonburg City Public Schools Over Gender Identity Policy

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A policy that forces teachers to conceal from parents their children’s gender pronouns and transitions is the subject of a legal challenge brought by a coalition of six parents and teachers against the Harrisonburg City Public Schools. Defendants include Deborah Figliola, Kristine Marsh, Timothy and Laura Nelson, and John and Nicole Stephens, who filed a case in Rockingham County Circuit Court last week on their behalf.

First Amendment rights are said to have been violated by the school district’s policy that forces teachers to inquire about pupils’ preferred names and pronouns without parental awareness. “Each child’s situation is unique and warrants loving and tailored attention — attention that is best determined not by school officials, but by parents,” the lawsuit states. Two of the plaintiffs are teachers at Harrisonburg middle and elementary schools. One of the plaintiffs, who is represented by her husband, is an English teacher at a high school with pupils in the district. The other three members are all parents who have children enrolled in schools within the district.