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Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging LGBTQ protections for schoolchildren

A Virginia judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to overturn protections for gay and transgender students in Fairfax County Public Schools.

Andrea Lafferty, the head of the conservative Traditional Values Coalition, and an unnamed student sued the county school board in December in Fairfax County Circuit Court. The lawsuit argued that the board overstepped its authority when it changed its policies to ban discrimination against gay and transgender students and staff because state law does not include such protections. The student said he was “terrified at the thought of having to share intimate spaces with students who have the physical features of a girl, seeing such conduct as an invasion of privacy.”

[Conservative advocate sues school board over new transgender policy]

“We’re very pleased with the Circuit Court of Fairfax County’s decision today to dismiss the lawsuit brought against the School Board by Ms. Lafferty and the other plaintiffs,” said School Board Chairman Pat Hynes (Hunter Mill). “The School Board remains committed to ensuring that all of our students and employees are treated fairly and with dignity and respect.”

Lafferty, reached by phone Friday, said she planned to appeal the dismissal, but referred further comment on the matter to her lawyer. Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, which is representing the student and Lafferty, said the judge dismissed the suit because he said his clients lacked standing.

Staver said Liberty Counsel plans to appeal the case on Monday.

The suit’s dismissal comes as school districts struggle to figure out how to accommodate transgender students. The Fourth Circuit of Appeals in Richmond, Va. recently heard an appeal from a transgender boy who was barred from using the boy’s restroom at his high school in Gloucester County, Va. The decision in that case could have national implications.

The Fairfax County School Board voted to change its nondiscrimination policy to include gay students and staff in December 2014. Six months later, the board expanded the policy to bar discrimination based on “gender identity” despite vocal opposition from Lafferty and some parents in the district.