Virginia High Schoolers Say Enough, Walk Out In Protest of ‘Gender-Neutral’ Bathroom Policies

loudoun county school walkout
Phillip Pessar, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Embattled northern Virginia school district Loudoun County returned to the news this week over a walkout conducted at one of the high schools. Students upset with a policy allowing transgender individuals to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice walked out of class this week in an exercise of their First Amendment rights.

The reasons the students expressed for the walkout echoed the same concerns of parents and other students who have stood up and spoken out against policies that erase female safe spaces. As with most protests, these students were met with counter-protesters who support the mixed-gendered policy.

Besides the obvious newsworthiness of students walking out of school in opposition to a policy meant to push gender ideology, the other noteworthy aspect of this story is the apparent double standard imposed on these students versus those who support policies such as the one in question. As with most cultural issues today, the gender ideology question has become more of a testament to whose First Amendment rights are upheld and whose aren’t.

From the mouths of babes

This week, between 50 and 100 students walked out of Woodgrove High School in Loudoun County, Virginia, in protest of Policy 8040. The policy allows for non-binary, gender-fluid, and transgender students to use any school bathroom or locker room of their choosing.

A female student explained the obvious dangers and disruption this policy has caused her fellow female peers:

“I stopped using them (the bathrooms) because I don’t know what’s going to happen to me in there.”

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Her concerns and those of her classmates are valid and were a reality for a female student in 2021 in the same school district who was sexually assaulted by a skirt-wearing male student in the female bathroom.

She goes on to explain:

“…there are girls in PE (physical education class) who still get changed in the bathroom stalls in there because they’re afraid of who might waltz in.”

In a time when mental health is at a historic low for America’s youth and young girls and women are bombarded with body shaming propaganda in the media, it’s alarming that they now have to grapple with changing in bathroom stalls for fear a male might share what should be a protected space for girls during a vulnerable activity such as getting naked.

But it’s not just girls sounding the alarms over this policy.

Boys matter too

A male student explained why he was participating in the walkout, stating:

“In the locker rooms in the morning, it’s an invasion of privacy, as I said, because when men and natural-born males are in our locker rooms, and they are showering in the morning, natural-born females can walk in there as they please.”

He goes on to rightly say:

“…that is not OK. And it goes against what we believe in.”

It is easy to forget that boys are also a part of this equation when administrators decide to adopt policies based on left-wing ideologies. Bathrooms and locker rooms aren’t just safe spaces for girls and women, but also for boys and men.

Young boys and men aren’t immune to body shaming culture. The idea of their female peers seeing them in the nude not only opens them up for bullying and possibly compromising situations, but is fundamentally wrong and shouldn’t be what anyone believes in.

Earlier this year, high school students in Perkiomen Valley School District, Pennsylvania, walked out in protest of similar policies.

A male student for that walkout explained:

“Girls—we wanted to protect them. They were upset. They didn’t want men in their bathroom.”

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At least young teenage boys are protecting girls, but who will protect the boys? And will their voices be heard?

Nothing to see here

The same female student who spoke on bathroom and locker room use conveyed her and her peers’ frustration with the school district:

“We express these concerns and they ignore us and write us off as right-wing crazies. We’re not crazy. We’re sick of being here and just being completely ignored.”

These students aren’t just being ignored; the school district actively silences them. Students who wanted to participate in the walkout but didn’t told local news outlet ABC 7 News that their teachers discouraged them.

A parent also told the local news that several members of the varsity football team who wanted to participate were prohibited by their teacher, who threatened to tell their coach if they walked out. However, last year, when students in the same school district orchestrated a walkout against Governor Glenn Youngkin’s policies, teachers actively encouraged participation.

For the walkout this week, the student organizers were told an announcement would be made in the school alerting students who wished to participate, just as had been done for students last year who protested the Governor’s policy. Only this time, no announcement was made.

The organizers for this week’s protest were told they weren’t allowed to have signs, flags, or parents present, and they also were told they had to stay to the side of the school. However, the counter-protestors were allowed signs, flags, and parents to participate.

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They also were posted in the front of the school, conveniently in direct camera view of any news stations.

Junior Katie Young told local news:

“They get to do whatever they want, and we have to play by rules that don’t exist to them.”

Unfortunately, she’s not wrong, and this week’s walkout was probably the best and saddest civics lesson on current political discourse she will ever get in school.

Not on your side

The behavior of Loudoun County Public School administrators, school board members, and the special interest groups that fuel their cause proves that none of these groups who claim to care about children, education, and safety actually do. What they care about is the agenda that lines their pocket the most.

That agenda does not align with the safety or education of kids. One of the organizers of this week’s walkout, Ronan Mackey, commented on the rules they had to follow versus what the counter-protesters had to follow:

“It’s a double standard, I believe. They are trying to push an agenda, and they don’t want us doing what we are doing because it goes against what they are trying to push on us as kids.”

Ronan should receive extra credit in his American Government class because it couldn’t be explained better than how he laid it out. ‘They’ are trying to push an agenda.

An agenda that wishes to erase girls, confuse young people at a time that is already confusing and psychologically vulnerable, and over-sexualize children. To what purpose?

Now, that is a good question. 

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USAF Retired, Bronze Star recipient, outspoken veteran advocate. Hot mess mom to two monsters and wife to equal parts... More about Kathleen J. Anderson

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