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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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Department of Education
 
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State Board 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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2/3/21  4:06 pm
Commenter: Heather Sanchez

Strongly Oppose
 

I agree with you that every single child—including and especially those struggling with sexual confusion—should be protected from harm and harassment. There is no question of that. And Virginia has a good anti-bullying law. But this new, proposed policy goes way beyond prevention and crosses the line into mandatory promotion of politicized, sexualized ideology.

Considering that scientific studies and medical experts make clear the majority of children outgrow gender confusion by the time they reach puberty—it’s, at best, irresponsible to push involuntary promotion of gender confusion in a public education setting—and, at worst, actually damaging to kids who are still developing.

We all agree that parents should unconditionally love, nurture and protect their children regardless of the circumstances—and abuse is always wrong for any reason. The disturbing reality, though, is that this policy opens the door to defining Christian, Bible believing parents—or others of faith—who aren’t deemed to fully embrace or comply with transgender politics as “abusers.” For instance, it states that in situations “when their families are not affirming,” the school should “be prepared to support the safety and welfare of transgender students” and then encourages schools to report abuse concerns to Child Protective Services immediately. This begs the question, exactly how will “affirming” be defined and who will define it?

Plus, the policy encourages schools to outright deceive parents:  It says schools should “respect” students if they don’t want their parents to know about their new transgender identity. The suggested plan for implementing this “respect”— and the policy specifically spells this out—is that, in cases where parents are not embracing or facilitating their child adopting a new gender identity (like using a new name, pronoun, etc.), then teachers can use the child’s new identity at school, but in the presence of the parent use the original legal name and so forth.

Encouraging kids to lead a double life and hiding vital information from parents that could make a life-saving difference in kids’ lives is clearly not wise or safe.

This policy is not safe for our children.  State education officials are not including kids’ bodily safety and privacy into their definition of “safe for all.” Because according to this policy, schools must allow boys identifying as girls, for instance, to use the girls’ bathrooms or change in female locker rooms—and this can all be done without ever notifying parents. Sadly, no one ever talks about the harm done to very young girls, for example, who feel powerless to expect physical privacy in the present of biological males—not to mention young men who don’t want to change in front of biological girls.

Thank you for your consideration,

Heather Sanchez

CommentID: 95792