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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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1/13/21  10:11 am
Commenter: Matthew Rumbaugh

Transgender policy

Regarding the proposed transgender policy, I strongly urge our authorities not to pass these measures. I have several concerns.

First, the research around transgender issues is thin and does not support measures these strict. We actually have very little idea about the effects of gender identification over a person's lifespan and precious little idea about the influences of institutional participation on these issues. There has simply not been enough time to sufficiently study the longitudinal effects and concerns and there is just no way that these measures are grounded in solid research.

Second, I worry about the disproportionate nature of this response. While I have sympathy for students who might struggle with these issues in our school system, there are not enough of them to change the rules for every other student, teacher, and administrator. The many bear the weight for only a few and we should think very, very carefully before we encode that in our laws and regulations. 

Third, I take great exception to the idea that we need to change the English language to reflect the perceived reality of only a handful of people. We teach our children that words mean things and to move away from that for notions not founded in research and data bears a potential consequence I don't think we've adequately considered.

For the few students with legitimate concerns here, surely our superintendents and principals can be trusted to handle as they see fit without potentially demonizing and criminalizing other students and teachers simply trying to achieve their educational mission.

CommentID: 89832