LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. (7News) — On Wednesday, a group of students at Woodgrove High School staged a walkout in protest of the Loudoun County School Board’s policy, known as Policy 8040, which allows nonbinary, gender fluid, and transgender students to use school bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice. The demonstration, consisting of approximately 50-100 students, sought to reverse the policy, arguing it invades privacy and creates safety concerns.
Several students voiced their concerns during the protest. One male student expressed, “In the locker rooms in the morning, it’s an invasion of privacy because when men and natural-born males are in our locker rooms and they are showering in the morning, natural-born females can walk in there as they please. And that is not OK. And it goes against what we believe in.”
#Highschoolstudents in #LoudounCountyVirginia staged a walk out today to demand the @loudouncountyva #schoolBoard to restore #girlsonly and #boysonly #lockerrooms and #bathrooms in #schools.— J-Bird (@1jbirdx) November 3, 2023
The #kids are #fightingback 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/PrpsWdnaCW
Another male student shared similar sentiments, saying, “I would like to be able when I get off football practice and go put my pads away and change not feel uncomfortable with other genders in there watching me. I feel that girls feel the same way about the situation. How would you feel if you were a female changing with a male?”
A female student explained that she stopped using school bathrooms due to Policy 8040, citing safety concerns. “It’s a massive safety risk, and they [LCPS] don’t do anything about it. We express these concerns, and they ignore us and write us off as right-wing crazies. We’re not crazy. We just don’t want to be in danger on a daily basis in this building,” she said.
The female student continued, “I stopped using them [the bathrooms] because I don’t know what’s going to happen to me in there. And people can be like, ‘Oh, well, that’s paranoid.’ I’m telling you right now, half the women in this building feel the same way. We don’t use the bathrooms. We hold our pee until we can’t.”
During the student rally, a smaller group of counter-protesters across the street waved pride flags and expressed support for inclusivity. “I’m here to support all of the children, no matter who they are. Yours, mine, all of them,” one counter-protester told 7News.
While the student walkout called for a return to girls-only and boys-only locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms, some students mentioned that they believed more would have participated if they weren’t afraid of potential backlash. According to one student, “It should be the entire school [walking out], but there are a lot of people who are scared to speak out against it, so they stayed inside because they don’t want to see the backlash.”
In response to the protest, 7News reached out to the Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) for a statement regarding the potential reversal of Policy 8040. LCPS responded, saying, “The Loudoun County School Board is continuing to follow its established process in its review of the latest Model Policies issued by the Virginia Department of Education. Policy 8040 is in review along with the new Model Policies, by the Student Services Committee.”
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