Student suspension for ‘malicious misgendering’: Is VA school right?


Fact Box

  • The Fairfax County Public School board in Virginia will vote on an updated version of their Students Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) handbook May 26, 2022 to review leveled suspension for “maliciously misgendering” their peers which would result in up to five day’s leave. 
  • released statistics regarding students aged 12 to 18: the majority were convinced bullies had the ability to influence other students’ perception of them, 50% thought bullies had more social influence, 40% thought bullies were stronger, and 31% believed they had more money. 
  • A February 2022 Gallup reported LGBTQ identification in the US has ticked up to 7.1% from 5.6% in 2021, with nearly 21% of Gen Z identifying as LGBTQ. Bisexuality was the most common (57%) sexual identity claimed, while 10% identified as transgender. 
  • Pew Research Center reported in a February 2022 poll that 38% of American adults say that “greater acceptance of people who are transgender is generally good for our society, while 32% say it is bad and 29% say it is neither good nor bad.”

Siam (Yes)

Anti-trans bullies have been abusing their first amendment rights by harmfully misgendering trans or nonbinary students for far too long. Times are changing now as the first amendment does protect 'hate speech' just as it does not offer protection against verbal violence or violent calls to action. Ample published data show how bullying transgender students occur very frequently; it is not an innocuous or one-off activity, but leads to a negative school experience. Bullying of transgender students not only involves misgendering but also deadnaming (i.e., using the birth name of a student who has since changed their name). Both of these things undermine the student's mental and physical health, and the repercussions are long-lasting, as both occurrences are closely associated with other abuse. Transgender students have also reported name-calling and other written and physical types of abuse in their experience of bullying.

Virginia's Fairfax County school board is doing the right thing to now take steps to protect transgender students from ‘malicious misgendering.’ If a transgender student is faced with repeated misgendering, this could lead to the suspension or expulsion of the abuser. The important thing to note is that the punishment will only occur depending on the intensity and frequency of abuse. Punishment for malicious misgendering is classified as a level 4 offense that will permit a suspension of up to 5 days. This policy rightfully raises this sort of bullying to the level just before sexual assault (rape), drug dealing and homicide. 

School administrators agree that this sort of malicious behavior is a type of bullying that needs to be stopped. Schools offer academic environments that are meant to be fun, educational, and a center for learning—not a place for bigotry and hatred.

Curtice (No)

Fairfax County school district in Virginia is considering adopting new rules that could lead to suspension or even expulsion if students maliciously 'misgender' or 'deadname' any fellow transgender students. It is apparent that some public school systems in Virginia don't consider educating children a high priority. Some, in this instance, Fairfax County, seem intent to do very little that is remotely associated with actual learning. These new rules are nothing more than speech codes designed to coerce students into certain behaviors and incoherent beliefs. Speech codes have existed for several years on college campuses and have done much for the elimination of substantial learning at the college level. 

'Misgendering' or 'deadnaming' are nonsensical made-up words. The term 'hate speech' is more elastic than anything, as it is able to be stretched and pulled in any direction to suit the needs of whoever happens to be leveling an accusation of such. Public schools do not need speech police, but the facts of life, such as math, civics, and biology, to be taught. What students truly need are educators focused on educating children, not infusing the latest fad of politically correct politics into the curriculum and disciplinary actions. 

As one parent argued, if students are not compelled to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, they certainly cannot be compelled, under threat of suspension or expulsion, to call someone by their preferred pronouns. A teacher at a neighboring school district was placed on administrative leave for refusing to use transgender pronouns. If this policy passes in Fairfax County, one can expect that to play out there as well. Perhaps, schools should consider teaching English, math, science, and history (actual history, not the CRT kind). It would be a refreshing change, and the students might actually benefit.

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