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A Fairfax County, Virginia parent said Friday that the local school board’s “focus is completely off” after officials approved potential punishments for students who “maliciously misgender” their classmates.
The Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) approved amendments to their student handbook Thursday night to add suspension as a potential punishment.
Mother Debra Tisler told “America’s Newsroom” that there are a significant amount of students who cannot read and numerate proficiently at grade level.
“It’s a pandemic of academic loss,” Tisler added.
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“It means that they’re putting an emphasis on a political agenda and not creating a pipeline to success and opportunity for our students. We know from all data sources that are out there that illiteracy is tied to violence and poverty. This school board is not focusing on that. It is very problematic.”
A Fairfax County school bus sits in a depot, a day after it was announced the county would begin the school year all online, in Lorton, Virginia, U.S., July 22, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
The Fairfax County Public Schools Students Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) handbook included in its updated version rules that make “malicious deadnaming” and “malicious misgendering” of classmates a Level 4 offense, which allows for a suspension up to five days “if frequency and intensity are present,” according to page 19 of the document.
“Using slurs based upon the actual or perceived gender identity” is forbidden under the rules of the document, “which includes, but is not limited to, malicious deadnaming or malicious misgendering.”
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Tyler Ohta said teachers have good intentions because they don’t want to see children harmed in any way, but the misgendering policy goes beyond protecting students.
“This policy actually goes way beyond that and into promoting and indoctrinating and mandating, compelling speech. Actually violating First Amendment speech rights, forcing children as young as five years old to be responsible for their peers’ pronouns, their gender identity,” Ohta said.
“It’s just unfair to children to expect them to know these things and to be following them along each day as gender is apparently fluid, so they could be changing each day.”
Tisler called the new rule “developmentally inappropriate.”
Fox News’ Jon Brown contributed to this report.
Joshua Q. Nelson is a reporter for FoxNews.com. You can find him on Twitter @joshuaqnelson.