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.
Previous Comment     Next Comment     Back to List of Comments
10/26/22  10:40 pm
Commenter: Deborah Dobbin

Protect Emotionally Vulnerable Children and Parental Rights!

Dear Virginia Dept of Education,<br /><br />Schools should never secretly socially transition students and keep the child's new name, pronouns and gender identities from parents. I am pleased and relieved that the Virginia Department of Education's revised model policies support parental rights and ensure that school employees don't cut parents out of critical decisions for their children. <br /><br />The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) issued "model policies" in 2021 that encouraged every school district in Virginia to hide a child's new gender identity from parents who choose to affirm the child's biological sex. Under Governor Youngkin's leadership, the VDOE's revised policies make it clear that all children should be valued and parents' rights and beliefs should be respected. The 2022 Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for all Students and Parents in Virginia's Public Schools keep parents involved in major decisions in their children's lives.<br /><br />The 2021 VDOE "model policies" encouraged schools to create "a plan (that) may include addressing the student at school with their name and pronoun consistent with their gender identity while using the legal name and pronoun associated with the sex assigned at birth when communicating with parents or guardians." <br /><br />I strongly support the revised policies that end this practice. Virginia schools should not drive a wedge between parents and their emotionally vulnerable children. Virginia school districts, including those who have already communicated their plans to ignore the 2022 revised model policies, should put an end to secret Gender Support Plans now.<br /><br />Sincerely,
<br />Deborah Dobbin
<br />3306 Mt Pleasant Blvd<br />Roanoke, VA 24014<br /><img src="" width="1" height="1" />

CommentID: 202587