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  10:17 am
Commenter: Patrick Read

Strongly oppose

This proposal will do nothing to ensure trans people are treated equally, humanely, or safely. Those who advocate for "parents' rights" in education and defend themselves for being transphobic by citing the First Amendment are almost universally not interest in the welfare of any children, and are rather using children in schools to push for their agenda of making trans people unacceptable in public. Repealing previous protections because parents have complained about their right to control their child's education and environment is not only an absurd overreaction to the concerns of a minority on an issue that does not affect their child's safety, it is an overreach of the BoE in that it is listening only to a privileged few who dedicate their lives to hurting others and allowing transphobes to control the school system. No other group this small has ever been granted this much power to control the policies that affect every student in Virginia. If parental rights are so important, what about the right of trans children's parents to not have to treat their children's depression and inability to be themselves? Because that's what they're going to have to do if the proposal becomes policy. The people supporting this proposal don't care about children, they just want to be able to train their children that hating and hurting others is normal, okay, and encouraged. Don't let them.

CommentID: 129405