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  9:58 am
Commenter: Caitlyn White

Strongly oppose

These proposed policies are discriminatory and cruel and will be the cause of so much harm if passed. Kids go to school to learn, not to be disrespected and told who they are is wrong and shameful. What pronouns or names kids use has nothing to with learning and education and is absolutely not your place to regulate. Banning children from sports  and telling them what bathrooms they are allowed to use is ridiculous. Is banning children from school activities and telling them they can’t participate because of who they are, is that what you want your legacy to be?? And anyones bathroom use is absolutely none of your business. As for forcing schools and teachers to out Lgbtq students and tell their parents- absolutely ignorant and an act of violence. You will be putting so many children in danger and their blood will be on your hands. There are countless parents and family that are unsafe and unsupportive and you are putting children at the risk of homelessness, abuse, conversion therapy, and death. 50% of all teens get a negative reaction when coming out to their parents and 1 in 4 teens are forced to leave their homes after coming out. And Roughly 34% of LGBT youth report suffering physical violence from their parents as a result of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. You will be actively putting kids in harms way. And that’s not even taking into account the effects on their mental health. Being told they can’t do this or that and their identity is shameful and has to be reported to possible unsupportive parents- this will add even more to the mental health crisis in lgbtq youths. More than half of transgender and nonbinary youth have seriously considered suicide and Lgbtq youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers. Discriminating against them and regulating every part of them and putting them In harms way will only make it worse. Is that the legacy you want? To be the ones who increased youths suicide rates and homelessness?? We should be encouraging children and helping their lights to grow and be confident in themselves, not completely stifling that light. Maybe worry more about school shootings and bullying and the youth in poverty that can’t afford food or school supplies, instead of what’s in their pants and what name they prefer. Do something to make things better for kids, not worse. 

CommentID: 129264