The proposed 2022 Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools must be rescinded. The 2022 Model Policies endangers the lives of transgender children by ignoring the guidance of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Psychological Association and National Association of School Psychologists. Consequently, the 2022 Model Policies increase the risk of suicide in transgender children.
The 2022 Model Policies ignore AAP policy and remove protections for transgender students, and as a result will interfere in the treatment plans established between students, supportive parents, and their doctors. This could then negatively affect the mental health of transgender students and increase their risk of suicide. The AAP promotes a gender-affirmative care model for transgender children . According to the AAP, “gender affirmation among adolescents with gender dysphoria often reduces the emphasis on gender in their lives, allowing them to attend to other developmental tasks, such as academic success, relationship building, and future-oriented planning.” In addition to giving transgender children the ability to focus on their academic performance, gender-affirmative support from family can reduce the risk of suicide. According to a study of transgender adolescents from the Journal of Adolescent Health, children with strongly supportive parents had a 4% rate of suicide attempts, while children with unsupportive parents had a suicide attempt rate as high as 60% . Support via clearly defined, supportive school policies also reduce the risk to transgender students. According to the AAP, “A lack of explicit policies that protected youth who identified as [transgender] was associated with increased reported victimization, with more than half of students who identified as LGBTQ reporting verbal harassment because of their gender expression” . By removing protections for transgender students, the 2022 Model Policies could increase harassment and bullying of transgender children and increase their risk of suicide.
The 2021 Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools provided the protections required to support transgender children. The 2021 document provided clear, comprehensive policies based on guidance from experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association and National Association of School Psychologists, and the Journal of School Psychology. The 2021 Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia's Public Schools ensured the health and safety of transgender children, and must be upheld.
 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Policy Statement: Ensuring Comprehensive Care and Support for Trasngender and Gender-Diverse Children and Adolescents, October 2018. https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/142/4/e20182162/37381/Ensuring-Comprehensive-Care-and-Support-for?autologincheck=redirected?nfToken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000
 McConnell?EA, Birkett?M, Mustanski?B. Families matter: social support and mental health trajectories among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.?J Adolesc Health. 2016;59(6):674–680[https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27707515/]