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Parents Barred from Questioning Gender Identity Changes During Fairfax County Committee Meeting

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Parents concerned about new sex education guidelines for Fairfax County public schools, located just outside of the nation’s capital, were not allowed to question any of the voting committee members during the last meeting.

The Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee (FLECAC) was considering a motion to eliminate the terms “biological gender” and “biological sex” from the curriculum and replace them with “sex assigned at birth” when security for the Fairfax Public Schools building informed committee members the room had reached capacity so they would have to remove members of the public.

“We should always be using the term sex assigned at birth rather than biological sex. Biological sex is a meaningless term,” committee member Daniel Press said before a security officer entered the room.

Committee Chairperson Elizabeth Payne moved to pause the meeting. Some committee members asked the officer to check if there was another open room in the building to accommodate everyone. Others suggested adjourning or taking all of the parents out of the meeting instead of choosing who could stay.

“It’s not a school board meeting where you can sign up to speak,” committee member Joan Daly said to a parent in the audience who had noted that the meeting is open to the public.

“It’s your responsibility to have a room that caters to the public,” said Andrea Bayer, a parent at the meeting.

“You’re not allowed to give responses,” Press said to Bayer. “You’re essentially not supposed to be here. Somebody else has your term,” Bayer replied. “And you want to redefine sex, good lord.”

Security threatened to call the police on Bayer for refusing to leave the room.

Bayer was referring to Laura Hanford, who was informed last month that the district had terminated her position in the middle of her term. The school board member who appointed her had resigned and the new member appointed Press.

Hanford told PJM she introduced a motion at the January meeting to strike the term “sex assigned at birth” in sentences throughout the grades 6-8 curriculum and replace it with “sex.”

If the committee approved her motion, part of the “lesson objectives” would be changed to, “Transgender will be defined as an individual whose gender identity, how they think of themselves as a male or female, is different from the individual’s [biological] sex.”

[Full agenda with pending motions here.]

Hanford’s position was terminated before the next meeting.

“Suddenly, a week before the meeting when we were supposed to consider them, I receive a letter from the clerk of the school board saying I had been replaced, so it didn’t smell right,” she said.

Hanford decided to attend last month’s meeting after her termination and told PJM her motion was postponed indefinitely and not debated.