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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  5:02 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Trans kids deserve respect but portions of these proposed policies go too far

Children and teenagers who profess to be transgender deserve to be treated with love and respect, but portions of these proposed policies go too far and should be revised.

 For example, the proposed policies tell a school to withhold from the student's parents information about changes in the student's gender identity at school if the student does not want parents to know.  As indicated in other comments, these children often suffer from higher incidences of mental health concerns, including suicidal ideation.  Parents of such children need to be MORE aware of what is going on in their childrens' lives, not less, to be able to watch for concerning behaviors and take protective safety measures in case their child becomes suicidal (given it is at home and out of school they are most likely to try to act on such feelings).  To withhold this information from the parents potentially puts the children more at risk, not less.

In addition, the portion of the policy dictating that school personnel should not be allowed to question a student going into a bathroom or locker room given it can be traumatic to a transgender child - while the intent is understandable, fails to take into consideration that children will be children and seek to exploit such rules for mischievous and potentially nefarious purposes.  Such a strict guideline does not provide room for school staff to question a student clearly entering the other gender's area for unsuitable purposes, such as if the teacher overhears students talking about going in the other gender's area on a date or to play a joke on the other students (let alone anything more nefarious).  How many teenage movies and books have scenes where one gender expresses a desire to sneak a peek in the other gender's locker room, etc.?   Such rules would enable students to act on such impulses without risk of censure.  There must be a middle ground on respecting transgender students and providing them suitable bathrooom and changing areas, while guarding against potential abuse that can be damaging to all students.


CommentID: 95916