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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10/26/22  11:08 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Mother of students
Thank you for addressing the harmful and legally shaky policies of 2021.
As a mother of 6 children who have all been part of the Virginia public school system I believe that parents have the right to make decisions when it comes to their children.
I also believe that no child should be harassed for any reason, including sexual orientation.
These model policies speak to both.
Teaching children that it is safe and good to lie to their parents to gain power to make life altering decisions is dangerous. Children are vulnerable and need to have the support and care of their parents. Legally parents have the right to make decisions for their children and morally they have the desire to do what is best for their child.
I am in full support of taking out the language that basically takes parents out of the picture deceptively when it comes to gender identity at school.
I believe that students and teachers should never be forced to say something is true that they know to be false and that their First Amendment rights and religion freedom laws protect them from doing so.
I believe everyone should be safe in the restroom and dressing areas of schools as well as on field trips, camps, Governor's school and the like. As the horrifying story from Loudoun County modeled, the idea that bathrooms are safe no matter who is in them is misguided.
That is why I'm glad to see, on top of the bullying policies already in place, that each school has the option to deal with bathroom / privacy issues for families on an individual basis.
Please do not take out any of the protections in these updated policies that are integral to parent involvement and children's privacy and safety.
CommentID: 202730