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  9:51 am
Commenter: Anonymous


It is unfortunate that public schools have been at the forefront of the identity politics game, and it is way past time to protect the children from this tug 'o war. There is a pandemic of gender dysphoria and our most vulnerable population has borne the brunt. Celebration and affirmation of such a disorder may not be the best course of action, but even if it were, the schools are not in place to decide or pass judgement in either direction.

If I remember correctly, schools are a place of learning. While some bias is unavoidable because teachers and children are human beings, the focus of school should be fundamentally education, not social engineering. Teachers and counselors are not co-parenting, nor do they have the right to attempt to do so. On the other hand, for teachers and counselors who do not fall in line with the current progressive march, compelled speech like self-generated pronouns is inappropriate and violates the 1st Amendment. 

Personally, I would like to see the government step out of education entirely, but if it needs to be a necessary evil (which I doubt), then its role should be narrowly defined to teach the fundamentals, such as reading and arithmetic, writing and history, science and trades, music and life skills (such as gardening, cooking, and budgeting). 

I fully support this attempt to limit the role of our schools in the battle of gender politics. 


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