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  10:22 am
Commenter: Anonymous

Parent Strongly Opposes

As a gay person who grew up long ago in Virginia public schools, supporting ALL students is imperative. If a child is made to feel inferior to their peers, especially by the adults tasked with teaching and caring for them, that child will most likely develop a host of mental and emotional problems. Being transgender is well established science, despite what some news organizations might say. It is also well established and documented that allowing free expression of however a child might be wishing to present themselves is healthy and does no harm to their development. Even the medical community agrees that even minimum support during puberty for a transgender child is completely reversible and does no harm to the child, and in fact helps them grow in a more positive way. 

As a parent, I am appalled that school boards and local governments around the country are trying to pass rules and laws that directly harm children. The parents that are behind these actions are not doing so out of any factual issues, but out of fear mongering and bigotry. That has absolutely no place in our education system. This is no different than the uproar about segregation back in the 1960s, and the white people you see in the photos from that time screaming and throwing hatred at the black children just trying to attend schools could very well have been taken today with transgender children.  They are just as ugly now as they were then.

CommentID: 129442