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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
Guidance Document Change: The Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools guidance document was developed in response to House Bill 145 and Senate Bill 161, enacted by the 2020 Virginia General Assembly, which directed the Virginia Department of Education to develop and make available to each school board model policies concerning the treatment of transgender students in public elementary and secondary schools. These guidelines address common issues regarding transgender students in accordance with evidence-based best practices and include information, guidance, procedures, and standards relating to: compliance with applicable nondiscrimination laws; maintenance of a safe and supportive learning environment free from discrimination and harassment for all students; prevention of and response to bullying and harassment; maintenance of student records; identification of students; protection of student privacy and the confidentiality of sensitive information; enforcement of sex-based dress codes; and student participation in sex-specific school activities, events, and use of school facilities.
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1/7/21  9:06 pm
Commenter: Daniel J Swartz MD

This policy endangers trans and non-trans students!

I read the VDOE suggested policies regarding trans students and have a number of concerns I'd like to share. First and foremost, literally decades of research have shown that the vast majority of children and teens that identify as trans, actually transition to their biologic gender by adulthood with watchful waiting, and are happy with that decision! I find it concerning that schools would interfere with parental guidance about sexuality, especially if deemed non-affirming. Non-affirming is not automatically, or the equivalent of, abusive. Pushing a trans agenda because a student "feels" that way for a time can lead to irreversible consequences of hormone treatments and/or surgery. We don't have solid evidence-based medicine to endorse these policies; we are likely causing future harm for the majority of trans students that will switch (or wish they could switch) back in future years.

Particularly concerning is the utter disregard for the vast majority of non-trans student rights! Without some form of verification of trans status, what will prevent curious/devious/predatory persons from taking advantage of these policies for their own pleasure. I doubt it will take long for a number of teen boys to realize they can enter a girls locker room to watch girls change, and they can't even be questioned. Even if questioned, they could claim they "felt" like a girl that moment, day, etc. This will cause psychological harm to many children.

A similar concern involves the discrimination policy. If students can change their preferred gender, name, and pronoun at will, it'll be nearly impossible to keep up for peers and faculty. It won't take long for a clever student to change as needed to claim he or she or ? is being discriminated against by someone they don't like. How would you ever be able to sort this out the way the polices are written. We're asking for more problems than providing solutions.

Lastly, while students are wrestling with these important issues, I agree they should not be harassed or abused. However, I don't see how current policies fail to protect them from bullying the same as anyone else.

CommentID: 88770