The issue is raging throughout Fairfax County, and in the Providence District on the southwestern border of the City of Falls Church, the battle has broken out over the issue of School Board transgender policy. Incumbent Fairfax School Board member Patty Reed is being challenged by language teacher Dalia Palchik.
Reed, who has served on the board since 2009 and is running with the endorsement of the Fairfax Republicans, the arch-conservative Traditional Values Coalition, which has been classified by the Southern Policy Law Center as an “extremist hate group,” and two teachers’ unions. She abstained on a nondiscrimination policy vote regarding transgendered students earlier this year, although she reportedly voted in the past to add sexual orientation to the board’s nondiscrimination policy and anti-bullying rules. But “Equality Advocates for Dalia Palchik” that includes two openly gay legislators (Sen. Adam Ebbin and Del. Mark Sickles) and the LGBT Democrats of Virginia noted in a statement that the Fairfax Schools must be responsive to survey results of its LGBT students showing that 49 percent experienced depression and 38 “seriously considered suicide.” Palchik said in a interview on a local blog, “The biggest threat to student safety is mental health. Woodson High School suffered seven suicides in four years. Mental health support, including counseling, hotlines and increasing social workers in school are essential.”
She said she “stood in strong support of the much-needed addition” of adding “gender identity” to the schools’ non-discrimination policy.”