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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10/26/22  11:13 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Support LGBTQIA youth, stop this policy now, and give parents their rights back

This policy was initiated under the false flag of giving parents the rights to direct their children, but truly it is about controlling other people's children. Virginia schools already have policies in place to let parents opt out of any training or teaching that they oppose. This policy is about denying the right to exist for a specific class of people, and that is in direct controversion of the 14th Amendment. This policy will remove the 14th Amendment rights of students and the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. Under this policy, a specific class of students will be forced to live a lie and hide their true identity, and parents will be denied the right to raise their children to be healthy adults. This policy will damage the health, safety and dignity of LGBTQIA children and staff, and it will damage Virginia's youth and degrade our schools by making hate speech & hateful actions official school policy. The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated, "Transgender children are already at increased risk for violence, bullying, harassment and suicide. They may be more prone to depression and engaging in self-harm. These children need acceptance and affirmation, not stigmatization." The policy also stigmatizes gay children and staff as well. They will live in fear. I do not see much difference between this policy and the Nuremberg laws, or the Jim Crow laws Virginia was enforced, and history has shown us what awful consequences those laws wreaked. Virginia schools under the 2021 policy were places of safety, dignity and respect and this proposed policy will make the schools unsafe for students. I do not want my children to be educated in an environment that promotes hate. Stop this policy now.


CommentID: 202758