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APS to Consider Adding Gender Identity to Nondiscrimination Policy

The Arlington School Board at its Feb. 5, 2015 meeting(Updated at 12:05 p.m.) The Arlington School Board will consider a proposal to add gender identity and expression to its nondiscrimination policy for teachers and other employees, ARLnow.com has learned.

The proposal is on the School Board’s consent agenda for its meeting tomorrow morning. The policy would prevent Arlington Public Schools from discriminating against transgender individuals in its hiring process.

“The School Board seeks to employ highly qualified, well trained and committed teachers, administrators and support personnel to fill vacancies, without regard to race, national origin, creed, color, religion, gender, age, economic status, sexual orientation, marital status, genetic information, gender identity or expression, and/or disability,” the proposed policy states.

The policy adds “genetic information” and “gender identity or expression,” while removing “political affiliation or affiliation with an employee organization” from APS’ nondiscrimination hiring goals. Another sentence dealing with politics remains at the end of the policy: “The private, religious and political life of an employee is not a concern of the School Board unless it prevents the employee from performing properly his or her assigned responsibilities during the workday.”

Political affiliation and employee organization affiliation are not currently included in two other policies: APS’ human relations and equal employment opportunity policies. The proposed revisions, meanwhile, add genetic information and gender identity or expression to those policies. The goal is to “align the protected class categories with other School Board polices,” according to a memo from APS Superintendent Patrick Murphy.

Fairfax County made headlines when its school board proposed and then voted to add gender identity to its nondiscrimination policy last month. Some parents said they were concerned that the policy could lead to mixed-sex bathrooms.

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