District Requires Transgender Students To Give Written Request, Criminal Records In New Bathroom Policy

A new transgender bathroom policy voted in by the Hanover school board requires trans students to submit extensive documentation.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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Hanover school board

School bathroom policies that affect transgender students have become a major concern across the nation. Some states have passed legislation barring these students from using facilities that don’t align with their assigned birth gender. Some districts have taken matters into their own hands, like in Virginia, where the Hanover school board just passed a policy requiring transgender that wish to access bathrooms of their choice to submit a written request, along with their criminal records.

The new bathroom policy will give the Hanover school board the ultimate decision in approving or prohibiting transgender students from accessing certain bathrooms on a case-by-case basis. According to The Richmond Times, children seeking this access will be required to submit extensive documentation for review. Being hailed by some and ridiculed by others, the district asserts it’s a move to keep children safe. Voting members said it is a move to make sure students seeking access to certain bathrooms don’t have “ulterior intent.”

First, students will have to submit proof that a physician has diagnosed them with gender dysphoria. Signed documents from a therapist confirming that the student consistently has conveyed a binary gender identity counts as well. While it is not mandatory, the Hanover school board policy also suggests that the students relinquish records that display criminal or disciplinary marks. 

The act to pass this bathroom policy through was approved by Hanover school board members in a 5-2 vote. Some in favor expressed concerns with the exact details of how it would be handled but pointed out that both sides of the debate held valid arguments. By adding in the part that asks transgender students to make criminal records available, the board appeases opposing families that fear their children may not be safe.

As appears to be the reason to vote this policy though by some Hanover school board members, in a growing fashion, those against transgender bathroom acceptance fear that these policies open a doorway for criminals and would-be sexual abusers to easily gain access to women’s bathrooms and perpetrate sexual assault. Oftentimes, advocates against this point to the case of sexual assault inside a Loudoun County school in 2021. It was originally reported as a rape perpetrated by a transgender student against a female in the bathroom. 

Creating a political firestorm, conservatives used the story to call for transgender bathroom policy bans. But after court documents signified the incident was more in line with a dating violence story, liberal advocates criticized their opponents for making it all about transgenders. Whether the fact that this happened in the same state played may have played into the Hanover school board decision, is unclear.

Hanover school board

A transgender student within the district attended the Hanover school board meeting to express her deep dismay with the decision to enact these requirements. “Transgender and nonbinary students just want to use the bathroom in peace. We go to school like every other kid, we study like every other kid and we are put through multiple different steps and jumps to use the bathroom,” they said. She also noted that this policy places a target on a minority group of students, accusing the board of bullying them and fostering an environment opening pathways for other students to do so. Some board members asserted that with the policy being brand new, they are hopeful to tweak and update it as needed. How the district handles each policy, and how they approve or deny students remains uncertain.