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  10:01 am
Commenter: Parent of two high schoolers

New policy is cruel, unsupportive, and WRONG

According to Pew research, 5% of young adults in the US identify as trans or non-binary.

Studies show that 40% of trans youth have attempted suicide, and 82% have contemplated it.

Trans and non-binary kids need all the support they can get, both at home and at school.  If they are not getting support at home, the LEAST they should have is support at school.  An environment where kids are rejected for who they are at home AND at school is where you get 40% suicide rates.  Is that really what we want for 5% of our youth??

For those who wouldn't support their child who came out as trans, consider that situation carefully.  It can be a life or death decision.  But I digress...

For those who don't have a trans kid, or don't know a trans kid, or don't know anyone who has a trans kid, you probably do.  You just don't know it yet.  Remember, 5%.  5%.  This 5% of our youth need ALL the love and support the community can give them, and this new Younkin policy rips that support away in the guise of "parent's rights" and "free speech for teachers".  That's laughable.  This is an anti-trans policy that is cruel, unsupportive, and just plain WRONG.

Get it together, Younkin.  You're on the wrong side of history here.  Kill this policy NOW.

CommentID: 129290