Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Agency
Department of Education
 
Board
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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10/26/22  11:40 pm
Commenter: Virginia JMU Alumni

Parental involvement is not a threat to a child's upbringing
 

The debate surrounding this policy seems to be focused on a fear of what harmful things parents might do to a child who is questioning their gender. It seems like most people who oppose this policy are assuming that parents will be abusive towards their own children in some way. I believe most parents have good intentions and want what they believe is best for their kids. In response to someone who opposes this policy I would ask them, "If we cannot trust parents to raise their own children in a loving way, then who can we trust?" Personally, I do not believe parental involvement is inherently harmful to young developing children. I believe every parent should have the constitutional right to teach their own child what they want them to believe in regards to sex, gender, and identify. It is not the responsibility of a school or teacher to take a stance on this issue and teach their opinion to the students.

As a solution:

I think teachers should give any student who wants to change their name, pronouns, or gender identity a permission slip. This slip would require a signature from a parent or guardian just like they would use for any field trip. The student would be able to make the choice for themselves if they want to involve their parent in this matter by giving them the form. If the student feels they can trust their parent enough to give them the form then the parents involvement in the matter shouldn't be an issue, and any student who does not feel safe with their parent involved would have the opportunity to not go through with it because they are not yet ready for such a big change in their school life or their home life. If this is a change that the child intends to make the parents are likely to find out eventually and unnecessarily hiding this important information from the parents would only make things more secretive, more fearful, and more problematic later on in the childs life.

 

In conclusion, parental involvement would be a good thing because it would promote honesty and open communication in the home. We need students and parents to communicate with one another in order to reach a solution on these issues.

CommentID: 202914