Op-Ed: Andrews: Upholding religious freedom and inclusivity in Loudoun County Public Schools 

By: Aliscia Andrews, candidate for Republican nomination in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District

The “Parent Movement” deeply resonates in Loudoun County. That’s especially true among parents with kids still in school, but also with those concerned about the future of our country. It’s a call for transparency and a steadfast defense of our family values and our right to guide our children’s education and upbringing. 

It began with courageous parents fighting to return our children to classrooms after the COVID-19 upheaval. But it didn’t stop there. It evolved into a broader movement driven by frustration as political ideologies overshadowed our children’s learning. 

I hold immense respect for the brave parents in Loudoun County and across the commonwealth who ignited this movement and have remained steadfast in their commitment. They not only brought our students back to school but continue to advocate for merit-based academics over ideology. Yet, there’s much more to be done. 

As a mother of school-aged kids and a candidate for the 10th Congressional District, I am concerned about the religious rights issues surrounding Policy 8040 — currently under review by the Loudoun County School Board — which allows for biological boys to share the private spaces of girls and compete on their sports teams.  

School Board members must do the work necessary to ensure Policy 8040 does not infringe upon the religious rights of students. While I wholeheartedly support efforts to foster inclusivity and respect for diverse gender identities, it is essential to recognize and address the unintended consequences this policy will have on the religious freedoms of Muslim, Hindu and Sikh students. 

Loudoun County prides itself on its rich cultural tapestry, boasting a vibrant community that includes large populations of Muslim, Hindu and Sikh individuals alongside a small — but growing — transgender community. However, the implementation of Policy 8040 has sparked controversy and raised legitimate concerns regarding its potential infringement upon religious rights and the unique challenges it poses for these communities.


At the heart of the issue lies the provision within Policy 8040 allowing biological boys to participate on girls’ sports teams and share restrooms and locker rooms, irrespective of their gender identity.  

While the intention may be to foster inclusivity, this approach fails to consider the deeply held religious convictions of many families within our community.  

For Muslim, Hindu and Sikh families, modesty is a cornerstone of their faith, guiding their interactions between genders, particularly in sensitive spaces like restrooms, locker rooms and sports teams. By mandating compliance with Policy 8040, the School Board effectively undermines the ability of these students to participate in school activities while upholding their religious principles.


During a recent School Board meeting, a young Muslim girl eloquently voiced her concerns, expressing how Policy 8040 would effectively bar her from participating in sports — a passion she holds dear — without compromising her faith. Her heartfelt plea serves as a poignant reminder of the real-world implications of policies that overlook the religious freedoms of our students.


As a candidate for Congress, I firmly believe that inclusivity and respect for diversity should never come at the expense of religious freedom. Instead, we must strive to find solutions that accommodate the needs and beliefs of all students, fostering an environment where everyone can fully participate without compromising their deeply held convictions.

This includes exploring alternative measures, such as creating separate sports leagues or building gender-neutral bathrooms that are safe and provide privacy, to ensure inclusivity while respecting religious rights. 

By adopting a nuanced approach that considers the values of our Muslim, Hindu and Sikh students, we can uphold both religious freedom and gender equality within our schools. 

It is incumbent upon the School Board to recognize the concerns raised by these communities and take meaningful steps to address them. This includes amending Policy 8040 to provide accommodations like separate sports leagues that allow Muslim, Hindu and Sikh students to participate in school activities without compromising their faith, while also ensuring that transgender students have avenues for inclusion that respect their identities.


Policy 8040 impacts Loudoun’s Catholic and Christian students and educators, as well. For these families, this policy directly challenges their deeply held beliefs and understanding of gender rooted in biological realities and ordained by their faith. Allowing biological boys to participate on girls’ sports teams and share intimate spaces disregards their beliefs about modesty and privacy, as well.


As a community, we must come together to uphold the values of inclusion, respect, and religious freedom that define Loudoun County.


As your next representative in Congress, I will be committed to advocating for the rights of all students, regardless of their religious background or gender identity, to thrive in an educational environment that honors their beliefs and empowers them to reach their full potential. 

I pledge to stand hand-in-hand with parents to champion an education system that prioritizes academic excellence while safeguarding our children’s well-being, dignity, privacy, and access to opportunities.  


Andrews is seeking the Republican nomination for the 10th Congressional District. She has three children in Loudoun County Public Schools.

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of News Talk 105.9 WMAL. Any content provided by bloggers, authors, or other publications are their opinion, and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.

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