Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board of Education
Guidance Document Change: Every day, throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, educators and school leaders work to ensure that all students have an opportunity to receive a high-quality education. As a part of that work, educators strive to meet the individual needs of all students entrusted to their care, and teachers work to create educational environments where all students thrive. The Virginia Department of Education (the “Department”) recognizes that each child is a unique individual with distinctive abilities and characteristics that should be valued and respected. All students have the right to attend school in an environment free from discrimination, harassment, or bullying. The Department supports efforts to protect and encourage respect for all students. Thus, we have a collective responsibility to address topics such as the treatment of transgender students with necessary compassion and respect for all students. The Department also fully acknowledges the rights of parents to exercise their fundamental rights granted by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to direct the care, upbringing, and education of their children. The Code of Virginia reaffirms the rights of parents to determine how their children will be raised and educated. Empowering parents is not only a fundamental right, but it is essential to improving outcomes for all children in Virginia. The Department is mindful of constitutional protections that prohibit governmental entities from requiring individuals to adhere to or adopt a particular ideological belief. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees religious freedom and prohibits the government from compelling speech that is contrary to an individual’s personal or religious beliefs. The Department embarked on a thorough review of the Model Policies Guidance adopted on March 4, 2021 (the “2021 Model Policies”). The 2021 Model Policies promoted a specific viewpoint aimed at achieving cultural and social transformation in schools. The 2021 Model Policies also disregarded the rights of parents and ignored other legal and constitutional principles that significantly impact how schools educate students, including transgender students. With the publication of these 2022 Model Policies (the “2022 Model Policies”), the Department hereby withdraws the 2021 Model Policies, which shall have no further force and effect. The Department issues the 2022 Model Policies to provide clear, accurate, and useful guidance to Virginia school boards that align with statutory provisions governing the Model Policies. See Code of Virginia, § 22.1-23.3 (the “Act”). Significantly, the 2022 Model Policies also consider over 9,000 comments submitted to the Department during the public comment period for the 2021 Model Policies.
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9/26/22  9:25 am
Commenter: Anonymous

This is wrong, oppose.

There are several parts of this proposal that I'd like to go over. For one, forcefully outing kids to their parents is setting up some of them to be abused and murdered by relatives that don't understand or choose not to. Their suffering would be on you. Furthermore, not every kid who thinks they might be trans actually is, they could be just seeing how different styles or pronouns fit them in the safety of school. And by forcefully outing them, you might take away that experimentation, putting even cis kids in danger. Also, where is the line drawn? If a young cis girl isn't performing femininity to your standards, does she get "outed" as trans? Is she no longer allowed to use the bathroom that she feels most comfortable using? Is she kicked off of her sports teams? It doesn't make any sense, and is frankly just a disgusting way of controlling kids.

As for the restriction of using a preferred name, that also makes absolutely no sense. I remember so many kids asking to be called nicknames or something other than their legal names, and more often than not that made it easier on the teachers. Many kids asked to be called something else if someone shared their first name in the class. This proposal would completely take that possibility from them, leading to more issues. Then there's the fact that some people never even really go by their legal names. I knew someone who, from being a small child, they had a nickname and pretty much everyone called them by it. And none of that is even taking into account the fact that being called your deadname on a daily basis, hurts. It frankly should be avoided at all cost, or the person will just come to associate that name with terrible things. That's what happened with my deadname. My mom refuses to use my name, and I feel genuine hate towards that name instead of just thinking that it wasn't for me, like I used to.

Protect trans kids, protect cis kids, but those protections DO NOT have to come at the cost of the other. Actions like this will end in suffering and death for far too many children.

CommentID: 129144