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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9/27/22  5:46 pm
Commenter: Mathew Dillon II

Oppose; Parents have rights, but children have their own as well

Parental rights are important, and should be respected. However, I can’t force my children to become smaller versions of myself. I want them to think for themselves, and form opinions and beliefs that are clear, evidence based, and coalesce with their morality. 

I did not vote for Gov Youngkin, but I don’t bad mouth him in front of my kids. I disagree with this policy change for a solid reason, and that I do share with my kids. Ultimately, it’s my opinion, and my kids have the freedom and right to form their own. 

My opinion would be that kids have rights over their identities. If my kid likes football and hates history, I cannot as a parent demand the school kick my kid off the football team and load up his studies on Ancient Roman provinces. I can encourage them to take an interest, and expose them to things I hope will spark some curiosity, but I can’t demand it. If I can’t force what my kids must enjoy, I certainly cannot command who they are.

Your gender is a fundamental, foundational element of your identity. It dictates how you view yourself and how the world views you. Trans people believe there was an error in their gender at birth. Convincing them otherwise would be like asking me to just be a woman. I can’t, I wouldn’t even know where to begin.  I like my beard, I like my Adam’s apple, and all the other physical markers that tell me I’m a man. I also am a father, and wouldn’t imagine a world where that part of who i am just wasn’t there. That’s me, those are my feelings, and they don’t apply to everyone. 

Not misgendering people isn’t a form of fascism, it’s simply polite. It’s similar to why we don’t walk up to large women and ask when their due to have their baby. It’s rude and disrespectful. Why should any government policy condone disrespect, no matter if the parent supports it or not?  Would you call my kid a fatty too, if I wanted them to conform to a specific weight? Would you call my kid a Yankee Lover if I didn’t approve of their boy/girlfriend’s place of birth? I would hope not. So why should any school have to seek my consent before calling my kid by the name/pronoun they desire? How is that my business? If my kid were transgender, I’d probably be the first to know. And if I don’t, my kid may have a good reason to keep me ignorant. Let’s not put schools in charge of outing kids and enforcing disrespect. Let’s have schools be the community centers they are suppose to be, and let parents raise our children, with the understanding that our kids will be a part of us no matter what they eventually believe. 

CommentID: 149380