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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10/24/22  3:12 pm
Commenter: Susan T. Muskett, J.D., Pro-Family Women

2022 Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents . . .

Pro-Family Women strongly supports Governor Youngkin’s revised Model Policies of dealing with “transgender” issues in Virginia schools.


The previous 2021 Model Policies sanctioned the dividing of children against their parents, and infringed on parental rights. They even went so far as to openly instruct schools on how to keep a child’s parents in the dark. In contrast, the proposed 2022 Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for all Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools show greater respect for all students and reinforces the primary role of parents in the education of their children.


When one considers the influence of the internet and peer contagion, it is alarming that the 2021 Model Policies, issued under the previous administration, allowed students themselves to be the arbiters of their identity at school. Regardless of maturity and most likely lacking full knowledge of what they were doing, students could call the shots – they could announce their new identity without any substantiating evidence, they could choose which pronouns they wanted to be addressed by, they could enter the corresponding locker room – and all without the student’s parents’ knowledge if the student so requested.


The previous 2021 Model Policies even instructed school divisions that they may develop a plan whereby personnel use the student’s legal name and sex-related pronouns when communicating with the student’s parents but address the student with a different name and pronouns at school.


Policies that drive a wedge in the relationship between a child and his or her parents, causing alienation, are not in the best interests of any children, much less children who are expressing a new and rapid onset of gender dysphoria.


In contrast, the newly proposed 2022 Model Policies protect parental rights by requiring the commonsense approach of a written instruction from a parent if a child wants to be addressed by a new name and pronouns. Counseling regarding gender dysphoria cannot take place without notifying the child’s parents and giving the parents an opportunity to be involved. A school division should never have a written policy that encourages or instructs teachers to keep gender-related information from parents, and the new Model Policies make that clear.


Pro-Family Women further appreciates that the 2022 Model Policies do not compel school personnel and students to address students using language that violates their constitutional rights, and that the use of locker rooms and overnight travel accommodations shall be based on biological sex, except as required by federal law.


Governor Youngkin’s 2022 Model Policies are a commonsense approach. They call for compassion, reasonable accommodations, protect all students, and ensure that parents are informed.

CommentID: 195375