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HomeGeneralLoudoun County Students Protest Against Bathroom and Locker Room Policy

Loudoun County Students Protest Against Bathroom and Locker Room Policy

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A picture of Loudon County students protesting against policy 8040
Source: Pinterest

Dozens of students staged a walkout in protest of a 2021 policy in Loudoun County, Virginia. The 8040 policy allows people to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. However, Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) students condemned the policy. They complained about feeling unsafe and unheard.

Before this, the progressive Virginia district became a hotbed of protest after a sexual assault case. A boy in a skirt reportedly assaulted a girl in the girls’ room. Consequently, pupils at Woodgrove High School walked out of their classes to express their opposition to Policy 8040. 

Protestors want a return to traditional policy, in which bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers are strictly single-sex. According to sources, about 100 Woodgrove High School students participated in the walkout despite the school’s population of 1,558 students.

While speaking about the low turnout, one student claimed many were scared. “There are a lot of people who are scared to speak out against it,” the student said. “They stayed inside because they didn’t want to see the backlash.”

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However, another student explained they were protesting because they wanted their privacy. “When men and natural-born males are in our locker rooms showering in the morning,” the student said. “Natural-born females can walk in there as they please. It goes against what we believe in”

Similarly, many pupils in the walkout insisted that most kids in district schools were against the policy. They claimed the bathroom policy left them feeling unsafe. Another male student said, “I would like to be able to get off football practice, change, and not feel uncomfortable with other genders in there watching me.”

“I feel that girls feel the same way about the situation,” he added. “How would you feel if you were a female changing with a male?” Also, a female student said she stopped using the bathroom because of the policy. She called policy 8040 a “massive safety risk” that the district doesn’t “do anything about.”

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“We express these concerns, and they ignore us and write us off as right-wing crazies,” she added. “We’re not crazy. We just don’t want to be in danger on a daily basis in this building.” However, counter-protestors at the walkout waved pride flags, indicating their support for the bathroom policy and LGBTO+ students. 

“I’m here to support all of the children,” one counter-protestor said. “No matter who they are. Yours, mine, all of them.” Following the walkout, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin praised the students for “standing up for themselves.” He also blasted the district board, saying, “It’s time to elect a new school board in Loudoun County.” 

Despite Youngkin’s threat, the district board said in a statement that they were still working with the policy. “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,” the statement said.

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“Policy 8040 is in review, along with the new Model Policies, by the Student Services Committee.” Hence, it remains unclear whether the district board will scrap the policy. However, research suggests trans and nonbinary students in schools without such policies face greater risks. 

According to a Harvard School of Public Health 2019 research, “Transgender and nonbinary teens face greater risk of sexual assault in schools that prevent them from using bathrooms or locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.”

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