HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Hanover County’s school board has decided to allow a faith-based legal organization to weigh in on a key policy.
School board members voted 4-3 last night to have the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian conservative organization, review its equal educational opportunities policy.
The policy regards a grievance procedure for discrimination on the basis of gender, handicap or disability.
The chair of the school board, Ola Hawkins, sent a written statement to 8News saying, “The School Board voted last night to engage Alliance Defending Freedom for legal review of Policy 7-1.2 at no cost to HCPS.”
The ADF told 8News that because they’re providing legal advice to the county, they cannot comment.
The board is currently facing a lawsuit from several Hanover parents of transgender students alleging they’ve violated state law by refusing to adopt trans-inclusive policies.
People on both sides of the issue share mixed reactions to the board’s vote.
Peggy Lavinder, a parent to a Hanover County student, said a religious organization shouldn’t weigh in on any public school policies.
“The group doesn’t have anything to offer in my opinion of equality, inclusion, diversity and it puts transgender and LGBTQ kids at risk,” she said.
Ethan Lynne, a senior at Patrick Henry High School, said this was an infuriating decision.
“The ACLU will step in and challenge this in court for a second time regarding transgender policies. Our county does not have a good track record on this.”
Catherine Ferguson, a Hanover County resident, said she doesn’t see a problem with the organization weighing in.
“You’re either a boy or a girl,” she said. “You can’t be both in my book.”
Each school board member in Hanover County is appointed by a county supervisor and not elected by residents.