On Jan. 10, the Loudoun County School Board will again take up the issue of adopting policies that would protect LGBTQ employees and students from discrimination and harassment. On Dec. 21, the ACLU of Virginia filed a letter in support of these policies. Below is a counterpoint opposing such policies and answering the ACLU by Del. Dave LaRock (R-33rd), a member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing western Loudoun and parts of Frederick and Clarke counties.
A Loudoun County School Board policy to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (whatever gender identity is exactly I don’t think has been decided), is being contemplated without consideration to the negative consequences which would ensue. Many well-intentioned people want to be kind to all people, which is good. Affirming and encouraging abnormal behavior, in this case homosexuality and gender confusion, will potentially have a bad effect on teachers and students.
I’ve heard no mention of how many teachers might leave the district rather than be forced to compromise their deeply-held religious beliefs, yield their privacy rights to share intimate facilities with members of the other biological sex. I have talked with teachers who have quit working in Fairfax County schools because of this type of policy there. Teachers are already dealing with enough stress; it is not wise to add to the stress of many to encourage a possible few individuals with “issues” to gain proximity to our kids. Mental and physical health issues which are more prevalent among homosexuals and gender-confused people will open a Pandora’s box of liability, health insurance and counseling costs. I’ve heard nothing to support the idea that students will be better off in any way at all.
Creating a special class of preference for various behaviors through nondiscrimination policy implies that it is okay to discriminate against those not specifically conferred with special status. How can it be allowable to discriminate against anyone? To answer this, it helps to consider what nondiscrimination means. It is common to hear some pretty well-informed people saying, “I oppose all discrimination.” This is an absurd statement. There is a new variant of the word discrimination, a meaning that is a blend of discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice. When people say they oppose all discrimination, I think they mean they oppose bad discrimination, which actually means they oppose bigotry and prejudice. Bad discrimination is when bigotry drives a decision rather than fairness. Bad discrimination is prohibited by various laws.
Webster’s Dictionary 1828, defines DISCRIMINATION as “The act of distinguishing; the act of making or observing a difference; distinction; as the discrimination between right and wrong.” Notice there’s no mention of prejudice in this definition. Discrimination or the ability to differentiate is necessary, without it our world would fall apart pretty quickly.
Good discrimination allows people to choose between something that fits a need and matches one’s tastes. I discriminate in favor of chocolate over vanilla quite often. Colleges discriminate when they make admissions decisions in favor of smart people, the list is endless. As employers, Loudoun Schools need to be able to discriminate in favor of hiring the best-qualified, hard-working employees over unskilled, lazy, applicants with no experience; or, more relevant to the proposal, they need to differentiate between good role models and bad role models. Without the ability to discriminate in hiring decisions for schools, they would fail to achieve their primary charge of preparing well-educated and well-adjusted people.
That brings us to the question of whether it is good, or not, to hire homosexuals and gender-confused people who, if hired, become role models for impressionable kids. Ask ten people if they want homosexuals to be treated fairly and most would say yes. Ask ten parents of school children if they want the school to allow openly homosexual people and people who impersonate the opposite sex openly to be in classrooms full of impressionable students, and you might get a different answer. The moral and practical aspects of this question are vast and should be the basis for making the decision, not an emotional reaction to an emotional plea to grant favor to someone based on their chosen behavior.
Let’s look at how we treat smokers.
Smokers have lost a lot of ground in recent years because society allows discrimination against smokers. They now are pushed out into cold, dark, out-of-sight places to do their smoking or banned altogether. I’ll never forget once when my wife was recovering from childbirth, the hospital placed her in a hospital room with a smoker because back then there was no discrimination against smokers, now there is. Rest assured that mismatch with my wife’s room was settled in a few minutes because I wanted to discriminate against a smoker. Homosexuals, gender impersonators and smokers choose their behavior. Like smoking, homosexuality has many serious health-related consequences. I’m glad no one is proposing that smokers, who are good people, be conferred with special status as a way to make them feel less ostracized. It’s not likely to happen because although smoking is allowed, it should not be encouraged, especially in front of young people.
The following real-life example provided by Liberty Counsel, which is challenging Fairfax County’s move to give special preference to classes of people without authorization by the General Assembly, in a letter to Loudoun School Board members, is shocking. There are many others just like this. Andrew M. Peterson is a kindergarten teacher in the Clark County, Nevada, school district. Mr. Peterson was permitted to teach a kindergarten class while engaging in distracting “gender identity or expression” by cross-dressing in class. Mr. Peterson ultimately wore a highlighted woman’s hair cut; a woman’s blouse; makeup including rouge and lip-gloss; and eyebrows plucked and shaped like a woman’s. His dress, along with his speech in a contrived falsetto voice caused children to be confused as to his sex. Some children thought he was a man, and others, a woman. Numerous parents sought to transfer their children to another teacher’s class, but were refused by the school district. One child would become upset each time his mother referred to the teacher as “Mr. Peterson,” siding with the teacher, and stating that he was “a girl,” thus forcing the mom to choose between telling her son a lie, and telling her son about cross-dressing and sexuality, subjects which are inappropriate and harmful for a five-year-old, and which contradicted the family’s religious, ethical and moral beliefs.
A school district recognizing “gender identity” would secure the right of another “Mr. Peterson” to confuse students over the objections of parents by cross-dressing in class, and by using bathrooms and other private facilities over the objections of female coworkers.
Common sense alone makes it clear the proposed policy change is shortsighted. It is likely the courts will confirm schools in Virginia do not have the authority to make this decision. Compassion is a good thing, elevating abnormal behavior by giving those who engage in that behavior special treatment in laws and policies is a mistake.
Loudoun County policies allow administrators to differentiate/discriminate between good and bad behavior when choosing who will make the best employees.
This should not change.
ACLU’s Letter to Loudoun C0unty
The letter filed with by the ACLU of Virginia in support of a new School Board policy was poorly-researched, as evidenced by the deliberately misleading content of the letter, as well as addressing it to the Loudoun County Government’s Attorney, rather than the Loudoun County Public Schools’ (LCPS) Division Counsel. The letter is designed to intimidate and mislead Loudoun County School Board members into a hasty, unnecessary, and illegal action that could harm vulnerable children in Loudoun County. Similar action in neighboring Fairfax County brought a lawsuit that is pending before the Virginia Supreme Court; so action by the LCPS Board could also have significant financial cost to Loudoun taxpayers.
The claims in the letter are based largely on a highly-controversial opinion from Attorney General Mark Herring, and a policy letter from the Obama administration that is subject to a nationwide injunction from a federal judge. Neither the Herring opinion nor the Obama letter carries force of law.
The ACLU is providing false information when they claim LCPS has an “obligation to implement non-discrimination… on the basis of a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.” I sued Attorney General Herring over a related question, and he admitted in an opinion dated May 10 that
‘…the law is unsettled whether “sex,” as used in federal anti-discriminatory statutes, includes “gender identity” or “sexual orientation” as a categorical matter. Consequently, the scope of that term for the purposes of applying the VHRA is likewise unsettled. …it would be premature at this time to offer a definitive opinion on the question of whether sex discrimination categorically includes sexual-orientation and gender-identity discrimination…. Neither the Supreme Court nor the Fourth Circuit has decided whether Title VII’s prohibition on sex-based discrimination per se bars discrimination based on gender identity.’
The ACLU’s involvement demonstrates their typical eagerness to fundraise by opposing common-sense laws and pursuing a radical social agenda. They are misleading Loudoun County’s elected officials and the public in a way that could bring significant harms to Loudoun County citizens.
Our Loudoun County School Board should see through this charade and I encourage Loudoun County citizens to contact them. We must urge them to reject this foolish attempt to give the ACLU and their radical social agenda a victory they desperately need after their recent resounding electoral defeat.