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  11:21 pm
Commenter: Anonymous parent

Strongly object

The 2021 document did not take power away from parents, or mandate the deciet  of parents without cause. It did, however, prioritize the student - their safety and comfort, and create an environment where they could learn and do their best without fear or the added stress of being something they are not.


Conversations between the student and school regarding gender or orientation I included the opportunity to ask whether they were supported at home. If the parents are witting, and supportive of their child, whether they agree or not with the change, the parents may be included in the conversation. A parent who listens to and cares about their child would likely not need that Information withheld. And on the other hand, a child who felt endangered either psychologically or physically by sharing the information with that parent would have the opportunity and the safe space to be who they were, without the trauma and abuse that might otherwise follow if their parents were notified. 


Let our kids be who they are without threatening their (physical or psychological) safety — just like we feed kids who might might not get meals otherwise, let’s make School the place where they know they are not at risk for being themselves.


Show all students what inclusivity looks like and the benefits to society when people are free to do their best and bring their whole selves to the task.


Find ways or language  to help families where there does not seem to be support for these kids to reconcile who they are with their families … in a safe, thoughtful way, not blindly report on them 


Encourage all kids to be their best selves. Their whole selves. And  to help others be their best selves— that’s how we make progress. 


Encourage education for families on what LBGTQ looks like and can mean for families and kids, and offer mediation that might help bring us closer together

CommentID: 202795