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  10:41 pm
Commenter: Barbara Brumbaugh

Strongly Oppose This Policy

This is a hateful policy toward transgender students. It is focused on protecting everyone's rights and freedoms EXCEPT FOR a transgender child's. School should be a safe haven for children going through what I can only imagine is an extremely difficult and confusing period in their life. To require teachers to report sensitive and personal information back to parents is just unthinkable. Have you thought about the implications of this? No one knows what a child's home life and parents are like. This policy could cause real harm to children. The suicide rate for transgender people is higher than average, why in the world would the state even consider potentially contributing to the problems these kids already face? It's cruel and clearly intended to impose someone's personal religious beliefs on everyone. Why would the state put teachers in this position of having to report someone asking to be called a different name at school? They have far too much on their plates already. They are there to teach, nurture, and support kids, not make life more difficult for them. Transgender kids or even kids that are exploring how they feel are not hurting anyone - why would you want to hurt them? Governor Youngkin and this administration need to stop pushing their conservative religious beliefs on others. That is not the American way. With policies like this Virginia will be lucky to have any teachers left. I am STRONGLY OPPOSED to implementation of this policy in my home state of Virginia.

CommentID: 202593