Board passes transgender treatment policy

By Ruthann Carr

The Fluvanna County School Board passed a Transgender Treatment Policy at the meeting Wednesday (Sept. 8).

The vote was 3-2 with James Kelley (Palmyra), Perrie Johnson (Fork Union), and Shirley Stewart (Rivanna) voting for and Andrew Pullen (Columbia) and Charles Rittenhouse (Cunningham) voting against.

Upon presenting the policy, Superintendent Peter Gretz noted most of Fluvanna’s policies are in compliance with those set out by the Virginia School Board Association. Gretz suggested adding a notation to VSBA policies showing where Fluvanna policies comply.

The  Transgender Treatment Policy  can be found at

Lack of bus drivers

Far fewer came to the meeting and spoke during public comments than at the August meeting.

Jessica Farmer, a school bus driver, talked about the lack of bus drivers and suggested ways to bolster low morale among current bus drivers.

Many have to drive two or more routes, Farmer said. She suggested retention bonuses and monthly recognitions.

Gretz said the district had been down five drivers, brought in two recently and have “three in the que.”

COVID funds for reimbursement

Nate Johnson, a teacher, said moving here 25 years ago has been, “the best part of my life.”

Johnson said his spiritual walk is important to him.

“I have to be responsible for what God has shown me,” he said, adding that teaching social issues isn’t the School Board’s job.

Johnson said he decided to pull his children from the public schools and put them in a private school.

“When will you compensate me for doing what’s best for my child?” Johnson asked.

During the August meeting Pullen asked about using COVID funds to reimburse families for expenses incurred – such as counseling, tutoring help, technical support, private schooling or loss of a job – due to COVID.

Superintendent Peter Gretz asked the Department of Education who said, “no.”

Pullen said he wasn’t just talking about COVID money given to schools, but to governments. As the discussion ensued, Kelley, Stewart and Johnson said they didn’t agree with the concept. The Board did not take a vote on Pullen’s suggestion.

During public comments, one parent talked about how a parent is contacted when their child has been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 and what constitutes close contact.

CDC Guidelines specifies close contact as “within six feet for a total of 15 minutes or more” whether either party wore a mask.

Pullen suggested using COVID-19 funds to hire a contact tracer for the schools to relieve nurses and counselors of that duty.

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