Trans-script: Parents question radical ACPS gender policies

Following is the unedited Zoom “chat room” transcript from Albemarle County government schools’ May 31 Community Information Session on Transgender/Gender-Expansive Policy & Supports:  

Anonymous Attendee       6:05 PM
Do you realize that the policy being implemented next school year violates two Virginia laws. § 1-240.1. Rights of parents and § 18.2-387. Indecent exposure.
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:19 PM
Thanks so much for your question. Can you clarify to which policy you’re referring? The transgender/gender-expansive policy has already been implemented.
Anonymous Attendee       6:05 PM
Hi! It looks like the chat is disabled
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       6:09 PM
Hello, the Q&A Zoom format does not allow for direct chat between panelists or participants. If you would like to ask a question directly to a specific panelists, feel free to address them in the Q&A box and we will get that question to them. Thank you.
KPJ       6:09 PM
Can you please open up the question section so everyone on the call can see them please.  That way we know others questions and make sure we don’t repeat them.
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:20 PM
Hi KPJ, thank you for your question. I will ask our IT contact, but I’m not sure if we can make the Q&A public in a webinar.
Anonymous Attendee       6:21 PM
What are Mr. Nelson’s creditials? I can’t seem to find them online. Thanks
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       6:22 PM
Mr. Nelson’s title with ACPS is Mental Health and Wellness Coordinator.
Anonymous Attendee       6:21 PM
It seems as though the policy advocates for withholding information (i.e. Gender identity, pronouns, etc.) in a few places from parents/guardians. Is this true?
Nunya Bizness       6:24 PM
If these are professional people, why are they saying um every other word?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:24 PM
Thanks so much for your thoughtful question!
Anonymous Attendee       6:24 PM
What background does Mr. Nelson have regarding mental health? Thanks
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:26 PM
He has a Masters in Counseling from ODU and is a licensed school counselor. Happy to get his email to you so that you can touch base with him directly regarding his credentials. Thank you!
Anonymous Attendee       6:25 PM
Does Mr. Nelson have a degree in mental health or a related field?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:27 PM
He has a Masters in Counseling from ODU and is a licensed school counselor. Happy to get his email to you so that you can touch base with him directly regarding his credentials. Thank you!
Steve Bronder       6:25 PM
Is Mr Nelson a licensed psychologist?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:26 PM
He has a Masters in Counseling from ODU and is a licensed school counselor. Happy to get his email to you so that you can touch base with him directly regarding his credentials. Thank you!
Anne Etten (she/her)       6:26 PM
Thank you all on the panel for being here!  Very grateful to listen to your voices.
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:27 PM
Thank you!
Christopher Seaman       6:27 PM
Responding to the previous “Anonymous Attendee.”  First, Va. Code section 1-240.1 does not create any rights or obligations.  It is merely a rule of statutory construction to be used in interpreting other laws.   Second, and more fundamentally, Va. Code section 18.2-387 has no application to ACPS’s policy on transgender and nonbinary students.  That policy was adopted in accordance with state law to create a safe and inclusive learning environment for ALL kids, including our LGBTQIA+ children.
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       6:28 PM
Thank you for your comment.
Christopher Seaman       6:29 PM
Grateful for the ACPS administrators, staff, parents, and community members who volunteered their time to make this presentation!
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       6:29 PM
Thank you for your comment.
Cathy Butler-Cisneros (she/her)       6:29 PM
Thank you to all of you for being here tonight. I appreciate what you are doing to look after our kids.
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       6:29 PM
Thank you for your comment.
Kristin       6:30 PM
I second the gratitude. Thank you for taking the time to speak tonight.
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       6:30 PM
Thank you for this comment.
KPJ       6:31 PM
Were there other ways to keep the trans kids safe discussed? included designating one restroom that is gender nurtural or building a single restroom for people to use?
Luke Haizlip Beers (Xe/He)       6:37 PM
In the bigger schools, there is an option for gender expansive students to use teacher bathroom after discussing with administrators. At Community Lab, we have single seat bathrooms. This is primarily case-by-case.
Jen Ortuño (she/her)       6:33 PM
Thank you all for your continued work in the community.  It so important that ALL students are safe and allowed to thrive!
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       6:35 PM
Thank you for this comment.
Anne Etten (she/her)       6:33 PM
Feeling exceptionally grateful as well! I’m an educator and parent of 4 in ACPS, but tonight I’m here as an ally.
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       6:35 PM
Thank you for this comment.
Annie Campbell       6:33 PM
Thank you all for being here tonight, and especially to those who have worked to develop and implement this policy. It means everything to us as parents of a nonbinary child to know our child will be accepted and welcomed for who they are.
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       6:36 PM
THank you for this comment.
Julie Haizlip (she/her)       6:34 PM
Grateful that my child has a place that xe is comfortable and accepted.  Thanks to all in ACPS for the safety and support of our kids.
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       6:36 PM
Thank you for this comment!
Anonymous Attendee       6:36 PM
My student has a question about how the county is thinking through sports participation for transgender and gender-expansive students. What is the current policy, and how is it being affected by state policies?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:38 PM
Thanks for your question. The Virginia High School League makes decisions regarding sports at secondary schools, so that would be a good question for them.
Nunya Bizness       6:37 PM
You are charged with education of our children. The quality of that education has been shown by decreased scores across the board for students and schools for the past decade. There are many things that happen in the world that are not appropriate to be taught to children. Why do you all think that our children should be indoctrinated? Your panel seems to be very narrow and one sided. We did not elect or select you all to push your agenda on everyone. When will you actually teach curriculum?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:41 PM
Thanks so much for your continued feedback! Did you want to rephrase this into a question that one of our panelists could respond to in this format?
Anonymous Attendee       6:37 PM
What if I don’t want a biological male in the same locker room or restroom as my daughter?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:39 PM
Your family members are always able to use the private facilities.
Kate Pugh       6:38 PM
Thank you for being here! I am a teacher and parent at Western Albemarle HS. Can you clarifying when / how teachers will be trained on this policy?
Anonymous Attendee       6:39 PM
Will parents be made aware when and how these topics are being taught in class?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:41 PM
Yes, they will
Anonymous Attendee       6:40 PM
What about the children who do not feel safe or comfortable changing clothes in front of someone who was born the opposite sex? In the locker rooms? Or having to share rooms on overnight field trips with someone born of the opposite sex?
All children need to be supported and affirmed,  but what is truly in place when this occurs?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:42 PM
There will be private facilities available to all students.
Anonymous Attendee       6:40 PM
Everyone keeps bringing up safety. What about the non-trans childern using bathrooms or locker rooms and feel unsafe sharing that private space. How are they made to feel included or safe? My translation of the policy is that the uncomfortable student would be given alternative options instead of the Trans student. Is that the case?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:45 PM
All students may access private facilities at their schools.
Heather Macalister (she/her)       6:41 PM
@Anonymus Attendee: you can find the policy which addresses some of your questions here:
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       6:42 PM
Thank you for your comment.
NA       6:42 PM
Are you planning on having opposition points of discussion to this policy or will it remain slanted to the administrations social agenda?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:49 PM
The policy was passed in August of 2021, so this is a forum to discuss resources available to students, educators and families. The policy went through the same process that all of our policies undergo prior to approval, which means that there were opportunities for the public to voice their opinions during the time that the policy was being developed.
Anonymous Attendee       6:42 PM
Are there private bathroom and changing facilities in all schools?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:44 PM
We make private facilities available to all students in our schools. If you find that your child is in need of these and unable to find out how to access them, please contact your student’s principal and they will work with you.
Anne Etten (she/her)       6:42 PM
Anonymous Attendee, have you had a chance to look at how the Boston Athletic Association is accommodating transgender and gender-expansive athletes?  I encourage you to engage in the leadership they have provided in making space for runners in arguably the most famous and prestigious marathon in the world.  Perhaps ACPS can build their policy off of the B.A.A.?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:52 PM
Thanks, Anne. Sports in public schools in Virginia are governed by the VHSL ( The transgender/gender-expansive policy does not, for that reason, address sports on a general level.
Tore       6:43 PM
How is ACPS going to protect our kids from sexual assault?  The events in Loudon County demonstrate the danger of having students with differing genitalia share the same locker room and restroom facilities.  Will there be restroom monitors, or notices signifying the room’s current occupants?  How can we make these rooms a safe space for all students?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:57 PM
Restrooms have always been a complicated space for school administrations to police due to a need of privacy there, even long before this policy was approved by our school board in 2021. We aim to keep all of our spaces safe, and transitioning our facilities over to more private options is one important way that we aim to keep them safe.
Anonymous Attendee       6:43 PM
How will this impact education to students in the classroom?  Is the training limited to teachers to will this include students?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:47 PM
Will you please rephrase your question–specifically, can you explain what you mean by training students?
Anonymous Attendee       6:44 PM
Thank you for sharing the detailed 10+ page mylti-gender expression policy so we can read it. Do you have similar policies that you can share that protect expression of people of all faiths and expression of people of all races?
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       6:46 PM
The protection of expression of religion and race is covered under our nondiscrimination policy, which can be found here:
Anonymous Attendee       6:45 PM
Why have this forum on Zoom where it can be controlled versus in a public meeting?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:53 PM
We aim to make each of our meetings accessible to all, which the Zoom platform foster. Prior to the approval of this policy, however, the Albemarle County School Board heard feedback publicly through a vast array of different avenues.
Anna Bayless       6:45 PM
Thank you for sharing thoughts on such a prevalent topic. As an educator and a mom I would love to hear what we can do support our younger children with these important conversations and support structures.
A       6:48 PM
Are you saying if a biological male decides that one day he is a female he can freely use the girls locker rooms and bathrooms? How are you going to police random boys who are going to decide to be a girl for a day or two so they can see the girls in the locker rooms?
Anonymous Attendee       6:48 PM
how will this policy be extended to children in the classroom,  is there specific teaching that will occur?
Kristin       6:48 PM
How can I, as a parent, help and/or get involved?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       7:06 PM
Hoping that this is getting answered right now, Kristin. Please let me know if not.
Anonymous       6:50 PM
How do you define a transgender student?  Can my son identify as a girl and compete against the women?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:58 PM
The VHSL governs sports in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Beth Kessler       6:50 PM
Thank you all for this policy and the value you are placing on children’s safety. Can you speak to the support and training that will be provided to teachers and staff?
JAudio       6:50 PM
why is gender expression being addressed differently than non-discrimination against faiths and races? Don’t all people deserve the same protections of expression? Non-descrimination is different than protection of right of expression.
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:59 PM
Would you please rephrase your question so that I understand how ACPS is not protecting people’s rights to expression so that I can have it answered for you by the correct panelist?
Anonymous Attendee       6:50 PM
What is your education plan in the elementary schools surrounding this policy?
Anonymous Attendee       6:51 PM
Lets be clear, if someone of the opposite sex exposes themself in front of a person of the opposite sex, it is a class 1 misdemeanor in Virginia. So, boys using the girls restrooms could expose themselves which would lead to an arrest. The policy being implemented next school year allows for transgender kids to use a restroom that does not match their true, birth and scientifically proven gender.
Helen Dunn (she/her)       6:54 PM
This policy was implemented in August of 2021.
Anonymous       6:51 PM
With regards to athletics?
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       6:55 PM
The Virginia High School League makes decisions regarding sports.
Anonymous Attendee       6:51 PM
Is there an age or grade that we can expect our students to learn more about these things?
Charlottesville Crumbl       6:53 PM
Can you tell me how you make sure to notify parents if their child is wanting to begin transitioning? That needs to have parents involved no matter what. How do you ensure that? That is the law.
Anne Etten (she/her)       6:53 PM
Thanks Helen.  I was really just wanting to push “anonymous attendee” to engage a little bit more in the conversation s/he seems so reluctant in which to engage, beginning with the anonymous posting.
Helen Dunn (she/her)       7:00 PM
Thank you, Anne. I appreciate it.
Tore       6:54 PM
Will anyone answer my question?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       7:09 PM
I believe I answered it above but please let us know if you’d like further guidance.
Anonymous Attendee       6:57 PM
Some of these policies break Virginia laws. How is this allowed? Who answers for that?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       7:00 PM
Can you be more specific about which laws? Our policy has been in effect since August of 2021 and has passed through legal.
Anne Etten (she/her)       6:59 PM
Luke, thank you for being so authentic here.  I really appreciate your willingness to teach us.
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       7:00 PM
Thank you for this comment. We will pass it along to Luke.
JAudio       7:02 PM
Will you share thw recording and Q&A transcripts?
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       7:04 PM
A recording of this session will be posted to our YouTube channel within three business days.
Annie Campbell       7:05 PM
Is there an opportunity to expand affinity groups at the middle and elementary school level to support kids at ages beyond secondary school?
Beth Kessler       7:10 PM
For those looking for a support to start talking to young kids about this, we love this book and it helped our kiddo have some language to use. It’s called “it feels good to be yourself: a book about gender identity”
Helen Dunn (she/her)       7:21 PM
Thank you for the recommendation.
Nunya Bizness       7:21 PM
Not necessarily related to this forum but related to curriculum: what is/are the link(s) where we can see what is supposed to be taught in ACPS elementary, middle, and high schools?
Lauren Hunt (she/her)       7:23 PM
Curriculum for each subject can be found on their department page under our Instruction page (in the left-hand navigation list):
Marie Kronebusch       7:26 PM
Does each school building in Albemarle County have at least one gender neutral bathroom available to students?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       7:35 PM
Anonymous Attendee       7:27 PM
My child identifies s as non-binary and other kids were telling them they are a girl. The teacher didn’t know how to respond. I’d love teachers to get support and training on how to support kids in instances like that.
Helen Dunn (she/her)       7:35 PM
Please send to
Anonymous Attendee       7:27 PM
I know many families were not made aware these policies were enacted in 2021, so there is concern over communication. What steps will be taken to ensure parents are made aware of what their children are learning?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       7:35 PM
There were several forums held, all of which are posted online. Public comments were accepted at school board meetings for months prior to the board’s approval.
Anonymous Attendee       7:27 PM
I’ve had to deal with a lot of bullying having a non-conforming 4th grader in ACPS. What are some practical ways these policies support mitigation of conflicts between students to which they may be relevant?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       7:34 PM
Please send to
Abby Tammen       7:28 PM
Thank you for offering this session and allowing parents and community members to understand the implementation of this important policy and be engaged in thoughtful discussion.
Helen Dunn (she/her)       7:34 PM
Thank you!
Marie Kronebusch       7:33 PM
Why did ACPS wait two years to share this policy with all parents via Zoom?
Helen Dunn (she/her)       7:34 PM
We had several Zoom sessions, which are all online, prior to the time that this policy went before the school board for approval.
Christopher Seaman       7:33 PM
Thank you to all the panelists!
Helen Dunn (she/her)       7:34 PM
Thank you!

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