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  9:21 am
Commenter: Albert Pollard,

Reject or heavily amend the proposal. Respect trans kids.

As the father of a transgender child and also a former legislator, I ask that you reject these changes.

It is a matter of opinion and not of fact that "The 2021 Model Policies promoted a specific viewpoint aimed at achieving cultural and social transformation in schools."  While respectful, I was pretty ignorant of trans issues before my son came out. To that end, I think the most helpful thing to realize when reviewing these new guidelines is that a young adult is not "changing their gender", rather those around them have a new realization of their gender.  That is, for a true trans child their gender has been the same all along, it is merely the adults perception that has changed.

I would also like to point out that this model policy doesn't separate schools and parents, it injects government into the life of parents and a child.  Asking teachers to police nicknames is just silly and waste of time... Christopher, a male, now goes by Chris and has long hair. Maybe the child is transitioning. Government to the rescue! Call the parents!

Maybe next we should have teachers contact the parents if their kids are dating another child because it might be a violation of the parental rights that their child dates someone...

In fact the proper teacher response to a gay or trans child is: Are, are they "coming out"?!? Who cares! Do they have poor grades and seems depressed... that is when you care and reach out to a school counselor. 

There are many tricky issues around this topic but they involve permanent life decisions such as surgery. The school system won't be involved in these in any regard and the parent should have every traditional right over an unemancipated minor in these cases. Everything else is - names, dress, etc is transitory and not the government's business. 

Albert Pollard

Irvington VA 22480


CommentID: 129131