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  9:35 am
Commenter: Anonymous


I OPPOSE the proposed 2022 Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools. This document will only hurt transgender students and will undo all the progress we have made to protect them from bullying and harrassment.

1. This proposal requires teachers and staff to forcibly “out” students to their parents. This is extremely dangerous, as many parents are not accepting, thus creating a hostile home environment. This will also prevent transgender students from speaking to an adult whom they trust at school. Teachers are not only there to teach; they are there to provide support and guidance when a student needs it the most.

2. Teachers and staff are prohibited from using a trans student’s name and pronouns unless given permission from their parents. Studies have proven time and time again that using a trans person’s correct name and pronouns significantly improves their mental health and can help prevent suicide. By forcing staff to use a student’s deadname and incorrect pronouns, you are creating an extremely stressful environment for them. In addition, cis children have been allowed to use nicknames that are different from their legal names forever; how is a trans child with a different name from their records any different?

3. This model requires transgender students to play on sport’s teams that align with their assigned sex at birth. This is also dangerous for not only transgender students but every student. How is this going to be enforced? I fear that genital inspections will become the norm. There has also been a news story where a parent wanted to check if a girl who beat their child in a sport’s competition was transgender. This is a complete invasion of privacy. Sports in schools are also about fostering a sense of teamwork and community. You are taking this away from transgender children.

Overall, this model will only HARM transgender and non-binary students. It does absolutely nothing to protect them in a place they are required to attend every day. It also goes completely against all the guidance from medical professionals and statistics that show how trans children’s mental health significantly improves when we respect them. Please do not let this pass if you truly care about children and teens.

CommentID: 129183