A Breakdown of the New LCPS Anti-Discrimination Policy

The Loudoun County School Board passed a new anti-discrimination policy in early March 2022 during their monthly meeting with an 8-0 vote.

 

On March 8, 2022, the LCPS School Board voted to change the 8030 policy and improve it to include more defined guidelines. The policy, in short terms, says that LCPS programs and activities can’t exclude anyone based on their race, sexual orientation, or gender identity. It also has the protocol for the investigation an administrator would have to take if a student has a complaint about sexual harassment or discrimination.

 

According to the policy, which is in accordance with the Title IX Amendment of 1972, “LCPS programs and activities cannot exclude from participation or deny benefits or subject to discrimination any student based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. LCPS athletic programs adhere to the established policies of the Virginia High School League.”

 

The policy also states that students have a right to a prompt and equitable resolution to complaints of sexual harassment, saying, “Allegations of sex-based discrimination and sexual harassment will be reviewed and/or investigated under this regulation. Allegations that do not meet the definitions under Title IX will be investigated under Policy 8030.”

 

According to Loudoun Now, the new anti-discrimination policy took almost two years for the School Board to pass. “The policies were initially introduced to the Discipline Committee in August 2020 as one policy. In February 2021, the Discipline Committee split the policies to make a standalone Title IX policy.”

 

Some students aren’t sure if the policy will make a difference. When freshmen Bella Jones got asked if she believes this policy will solve issues at our school, she wasn’t completely sure.

 

“Yes, if they actually follow through with the investigations, but I don’t think the policy will solve people getting excluded because it can’t control how other people act. Most of the time, people aren’t going to change their minds on how they feel about race, sexual orientation, and gender identity,” Jones said.

 

Scarlett Yousefi, a sophomore at Woodgrove High School, said that she believes there shouldn’t be a barrier between anyone.

 

“I personally have always had the mindset that there shouldn’t be a barrier between anyone, especially over race, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. At the end of the day, we’re all the same. It’s also a topic that needs more attention brought to it,” she said.

 

Knowing many students feel this way, the counseling team has tried to make sure students have resources to solve any situations that may come up. Ms. Geri Fiore, Director of School Counseling, said she has seen more students coming to the office since the policy passed saying they feel discriminated against. 

 

“We are trying to make some inroads with our students of color, our minority students, and our LGBTQ students, just to let them know we are allies for them. Ms. Trenary and I, along with Ms. Hobson and Ms. Pidgeon, started MSU, Minority Student Union Group, in an effort to make sure our minority students have a voice and feel heard. We have talked to the group about what to do if you witness a student being harassed or discriminated against, and discussed who to talk to, who are your trusted adults, what to do if you are in the classroom or in the hallway. I think when situations arise, they feel they have trusted adults they come to to report it to.”

 

Mrs. Fiore said that the systems are in place, but that the system only works if people report situations of discrimination.

 

She said, “I think there are times where we don’t know about the situation, but we hear from the students, ‘Well nothing was done.’” Well, it has to be reported. We don’t have eyes all over the school, so we need to make sure that students bring the information to us so that we can do something. We want to make sure everyone in the building has a trusted adult, so even if it’s not a member from the school counseling team, that students tell a teacher. The teacher knows who to report it to.”