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  11:16 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

I support 2022 Model Policies

I support this policy. Since I am responsible for the care of my child until 18 years of age, I should be aware of what is going on with my child when it pertains to education according to the Code of Virginia, § 1-240.1, provides that a “parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.”  Also, the Fourteenth Amendment also guarantees the rights of parents to direct the upbringing for their children.   I believe working with the schools because we should be working together not against each other. Why is it too hard to believe the parent should be involved/informed? When individuals oppose this policy, I feel the parents are being ignored, we don’t count, we are not allowed to express our concerns which causes trusts not to exist between myself and the school.  

Concerning informing parents,  the following helps define what happens if a child feels uncomfortable about schools informing the parents: “The Code of Virginia, § 22.1-272.1.: Requires “[a]ny person licensed as administrative or instructional personnel by the Board of Education and employed by a local school board who, in the scope of his employment, has reason to believe, as a result of direct communication from a student, that such student is at imminent risk of suicide, shall, as soon as practicable, contact at least one of such student’s parents to ask whether such parent is aware of the student's mental state and whether the parent wishes to obtain or has already obtained counseling for such student.” However, “[i]f the student has indicated that the reason for being at imminent risk of suicide relates to parental abuse or neglect, this contact shall not be made with the parent. Instead, the person shall, as soon as practicable, notify the local department of social services of the county or city wherein the child resides or wherein the abuse or neglect is believed to have occurred or the state Department of Social Services’ toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline, as required by § 63.2- 1509.”  

It also states which I support that schools should attempt to accommodate students with distinctive needs, including any student with a persistent and sincere belief that his or her gender differs from his or her sex. A team of appropriate school staff and other caregivers should collaborate with the parents to identify and implement reasonable accommodations or modifications, taking into account the resources and staff available in the school and school divisions, as well as the rights and needs of other students and of school staff.

As a parent, I feel with the following Codes the school will make sure no discrimination or bullying is allowed for all students plus I should be able to request to review materials without being denied.

The Code of Virginia, § 2.2-3900, et seq.: Prohibits “unlawful discrimination in educational institutions on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, or disability.”

The Code of Virginia, § 22.1-207.2: Provides that parents have the right to review the complete family life curricula, including all supplemental materials used in any family life education program.

The Code of Virginia, § 22.1-201.2:1: Provides that parents shall have the right to review any audio-visual materials that contain graphic sexual or violent content used in anti-bullying or suicide prevention programs.

The Code of Virginia, § 22.1-291.4: Provides that bullying and abusive work environments are prohibited.

In conclusion, as parents, we deserve to know of what is taking place with our child because that is our parental rights.                 


CommentID: 202772