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  9:58 am
Commenter: Christine

Reject This ENTIRE Harmful proposal

The 2020 legislation to protect the rights of marginalized and endangered LGBTQ+ students was intended to be adjusted based on scientific and evidence based grounds. The 2022 proposal is the opposite of that. It actively violates the human rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming students, because it:

  • X Allows people to maliciously deadname and misgender students.
  • X Prevents students from using their correct name, unless they get parental consent and get it legally changed.
  • X Lets parents opt a student out of counseling, regardless of the student’s will.
  • X Require schools to out any transgender and gender non-conforming student, and may allow schools to out all LGBTQ+ students
  • X Requires parents to control a student’s name, pronoun, and gender expression, regardless of what the student thinks.
  • X Prohibits schools from recognizing non-binary pronouns.
  • X Bans transgender athletes
  • X Bans transgender and gender non-conforming students from using bathrooms that align with their gender identities.

LGBTQ+ youth are at a higher risk of suicide and self-harm than their peers. This proposal further harms their mental well-being and increases institutional discrimination against them. I implore you to reject these proposals and protect these at-risk youth who are just a few years away from becoming adults and active voters. 

CommentID: 129272