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  11:52 pm
Commenter: David Ray Whitfield

Love the new guidance, angry with the old guidance.

I am the parent of twins.  My wife and I are the ones responsible for raising our children and determining what values we want to instill among all other things.  The public school system should have a primary concern for education.  COVID revealed that is not the case.  It is abhorrent to me the extent that commonsense and actual data and knowledge did not direct the actions of the school systems.  It is clear that I cannot trust the Virginia school system or teachers to make good decisions.  And, they shouldn't have to worry about that when it comes to my child's name, what sex they are, what sex or gender they would like to be, or any number of non-academic things that the prior policy put on their plate.  That is my responsibility and I do not relinquish my parental rights when I send my child to school.  Public education is a public good and I think it is a good thing.  At least it served me well (although it was in another state).  Reading, writing, math, languages, science, drama, music, physical education, computers, and perhaps some other academic areas are things the teachers should be concerned with.  And those things should be transparent to me as a parent.  Chesapeake has made a system that is fragmented and at odds with itself and makes it difficult for me to monitor and assist my children.  I definitely do not want or need or authorize them to advocate for my child, without consulting me or informing me, over social or legal issues like gender and gender roles. They definitely should not be advocating social or political issues.  Discussions, debate, research, comparisons can all be worthwhile, but not advocacy. Leave parenting to parents and adopt the new policy.

CommentID: 202966