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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Agency
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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1/4/21  2:20 am
Commenter: Robert Rigby, Jr., "FCPS Pride"

Support the Model Policy Wholeheartedly
 

I support the model policy wholeheartedly. A principal once said to me "Children can not learn in our school if they do not feel welcome." This model policy is the first step in creating schools in Virginia that are inclusive and welcoming for transgender and non-binary students of all ages. It provides students with the self-agency they need to direct their coming-out and/or transition at school with the support of the adults in their lives. It will guide my district in developing their own policy. From a school employee's point of view, a policy similar to this will provide guidance and direction to follow in supporting trans and non-binary students in my school. It does a good job of looking out for the interests of students, families and school staff. Many thanks to the Virginia Department of Education and all who worked developing this model policy.

CommentID: 87914
 

1/4/21  6:34 am
Commenter: Josh Israel

Please support this vital policy
 

I strongly support these proposals, which are very much consistent with what the General Assembly envisioned in its legislation. 

Virginia must treat every student with dignity and respect, regardless of their gender identity or expression.  This policy would go a long way toward making sure that happens.

CommentID: 87915
 

1/4/21  9:15 am
Commenter: Leigh Quarforth

Please support this policy
 

I am in full support of this policy guidance.  Trans rights are human rights.  Plain and simple.

CommentID: 87916
 

1/4/21  9:26 am
Commenter: Kendall Maximini

Please support this policy
 

Trans rights are human rights. Please implement this policy to help protect all children.

CommentID: 87917
 

1/4/21  9:28 am
Commenter: Hilary Lee

An Essential Policy
 

As a teacher and parent, I fully support this policy. It is essential for the health and wellbeing of our students and of our community. 

CommentID: 87918
 

1/4/21  9:36 am
Commenter: David Gorman

Support from a School Counselor
 

As a middle school counselor, I have supported several transgender students, and I know their challenges with parents, teachers, and students. This VDOE guidance will be incredibly helpful in bolstering our support of transgender students. This guidance is important in order to better support transgender students and reduce their risk factors.

CommentID: 87919
 

1/4/21  9:38 am
Commenter: Bernice McCormack

I support this policy
 

I believe students can only learn if they are in a welcoming and nurturing environment. This Policy helps to create that space for Transgender students of Virginia. Thank you!

CommentID: 87920
 

1/4/21  9:42 am
Commenter: Anna-Marie York

It’s about time!
 

My transgender son was bullied in high school, primarily by teachers. This guidance is a long time coming and is desperately needed.

CommentID: 87921
 

1/4/21  9:46 am
Commenter: Christopher J. Cuevas, Equity Consultant

A long overdue policy
 

I am incredibly excited to see that this pro-equality and evidence based policy is being considered for introduction to guarantee protections for transgender and gender variant youth in Virginia. These long overdue policies would cement a schools as safe places for all students and ensure that students across gender identities can indeed feel welcomed and protected for living as their authentic selves while obtaining a quality education free from harassment and violence. Kudos to you, champions of equality!

CommentID: 87922
 

1/4/21  10:09 am
Commenter: Meaghan Hackney

100% support
 

I totally support this needed policy. It is important for kids, ALL kids, to feel safe, supported and that they are treated equally to their peers.  

CommentID: 87923
 

1/4/21  10:16 am
Commenter: Zoe Padron

I support this policy
 

As an educator and a mother I completely support this policy. I have worked with many LBGTQIA+ students over the years and have seen how difficult it can be for students who are gender nonconforming or transgender to navigate public schools when there are not policies in place to support them. Rates of depression, feelings of isolation, and real and present concerns about safety are everyday occurrences for students who attend school but do not identify as the gender they were assigned at birth. Policies like this one will not solve everything. There is no silver bullet. But this policy will go a long way to helping to make school safer for LGBTQIA+ students and it will mean that their rights are respected and their humanity is recognized. Isn't that what everyone wants? The right to be treated with dignity and respect.

CommentID: 87924
 

1/4/21  10:24 am
Commenter: Hillary Gerson-Krohn

It is long overdue and so needed. This may save lives!!!!!
 

Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools

This is long overdue and may save lives....

CommentID: 87925
 

1/4/21  10:27 am
Commenter: Olivia Johnson

Parent of a trans elementary student in Virginia
 

I am a parent to trans student in Fairfax County. My child is 10 years old and very clear on their identity. They receive unconditional support and acceptance at home, and, for the most part, their identity has been respected by school administration, fellow students, and parents in the community. I wish this would be the case for all trans students in the state of Virginia.

Even with the support and acceptance, there have still been struggles. My child doesn't like to make waves or stand out. Bathroom accomodations have been a troubling subject for them. Being so young, I believe they were the first trans student the elementary school had had. While asserting that my child could use whatever bathroom they wanted, they were STRONGLY encouraged to use staff bathrooms. While my child didn't complain about this, they also never felt comfortable using the bathroom at school. They would get off the bus and run home to use the toilet. It was a somewhat small thing. My child didn't complain. But when I put myself in their shoes, I can't imagine that anyone can do their best learning when they can't take care of basic bodily needs. I support this guidance because I think every school will be aware of best practices, whether they've had out trans students or not. These "small" changes will have a lasting and positive impact on trans students. They will help cis students as well, by seeing a model of acceptance.

When my student changed their name and pronouns, the school did clued into the changes right away. My child expected this, and I can only imagine how painful and erasing it would be for students who need to fight for their name and pronouns to be adopted. 

I want my student to be able to participate in all the enriching activities available to other students. I support the guidance regarding overnight trips, clubs, sports, and all the activities that all students should have access to. 

Affirming children's identities, affirming the diversity within Virginia schools, is beneficial to the entire community. This guidance sends a clear message to all students: you belong! You are valid! You can expect respect and affirmation. 

I'm also a parent to cis students in the county. For their sake, I want them to see their sibling treated with respect. I want them to enter the world understanding and accepting people different from them. So many of these lessons are learned in the early years in school. I want all Virginia schools to be places of equality and empowerment, and these guidelines do a wonderful job of ensuring that.

CommentID: 87926
 

1/4/21  11:11 am
Commenter: Jennifer Wiggins

Please support this policy
 

Evidence based practice should be used as the reference for our legislation and policies.  This policy supports our students' needs based on current science and evidence.  Every child deserves a safe environment to learn and to feel seen and heard.  Our transgender children suffer from significantly higher rates of suicide than their peers because they are not safe and do not feel supported.  This policy could save lives.

CommentID: 87927
 

1/4/21  11:31 am
Commenter: Christopher Candice Tuck

I Support This!!
 

As a parent of two elementary students and a person who is transgender non-binary, I fully and whole-heartedly support this legislation. This legislation is vital to prevent students of all gender identities and sexual orientations from being the victims of bullying, harassment, and terror that leads to higher rates of self-harm, suicidal ideation, and lower scholastic performance. Students should be enabled by these policies to focus less on issues no child should have to face and allow them to focus instead on the education they are offered. This policy will save lives and should be implemented immediately.

CommentID: 87928
 

1/4/21  11:36 am
Commenter: Sarah Harris

My Full and Complete Support
 

I fully support the draft guidance provided by the Virginia Department of Education for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia's Public Schools. As a former Virginia public school teacher and parent of three school-aged kids, I know firsthand that in order to be ready to learn, children first need to feel safe and supported at school. These policies, in addition to the professional development that teachers and staff will receive in order to more fully understand the gender spectrum and gender identity, will be life-affirming and life-changing for LGBTQ+ students and beneficial for ALL members of the school communities. Gender expansiveness and the gender spectrum are not new phenomena. We now have the language and understanding to be inclusive and affirming of transgender students, so we have the moral responsibility to do so. Thank you for these policies and for prioritizing the safety, well-being, and inclusion of all Virginia students. 

CommentID: 87929
 

1/4/21  12:42 pm
Commenter: Lisa Rogerson

I am in FULL support of this policy!
 

As a parent to a couple of students in Virginia, I fully support this policy. It is essential for the health and wellbeing of all of our students and of our community. 

CommentID: 87938
 

1/4/21  12:44 pm
Commenter: Liz Matthews

Enthusiastic support for this policy!
 

As a parent of one transgender elementary student and one nonbinary graduate from Va public schools, I enthusiastically support the Model Policy for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia Public Schools. My children are lucky enough to attend school in Arlington, where a policy was already adopted to support transgender students; but most trans students in Virginia have not been this fortunate. We need this policy to ensure that every single gender expansive student in Virginia has a safe, supported, and equitable school experience. Without a state policy, we will still have school districts who insist on withholding equal rights from trans students, as they did in the case of Gavin Grimm. Without a state policy, we will still have many trans students who are afraid to go to school, and will even self harm or consider suicide, because of bullying and discrimination. Thank you, Virginia lawmakers and Department of Education, for creating and adopting this policy, which will support, defend, and even save the lives of our beautiful transgender and nonbinary students.

CommentID: 87939
 

1/4/21  1:04 pm
Commenter: Julia Mills

I 100 percent support this.
 

I am a lawyer who serves as a Guardian ad Litem for children and teens in all types of cases and I think the VDOE Policy governing the inclusion and treatment of Transgender students in school is long overdue, and vital to both educate teachers and students about transgender youth, and also to support transgender youth in school. I’ve had several cases with transgender teens and know how important family, peer and school support is. These Guidelines are wonderful, will educate all and I support them. 

CommentID: 87940
 

1/4/21  1:14 pm
Commenter: Sarah Snow

I support the Model Policy!
 

I support anything that affirms and validates the sacred worth of all persons, specifically those in the transgender community.

CommentID: 87941
 

1/4/21  1:16 pm
Commenter: Geneva Cleveland

Support trans students and their families
 

If you have not gone through the experience of having someone you love transition you cannot imagine how much fear is involved for all concerned. Having a set policy that sets and enforces standards to protect trans students from harm would be serve to make the experience much less terrifying. I expect it would actually save lives as well - fear and desperation often go hand in hand. I'm sure you are aware of the statistics regarding self-harm among trans youth; they aren't good. Do your part to make their young lives better and safer by providing your support. Thank you.

CommentID: 87942
 

1/4/21  1:17 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

I fully support this policy
 

This is a thoughtfully developed set of guidance that has the potential to do wonders to support the whole development of all children. The literature tells us that social and emotional wellbeing contributes to cognitive wellbeing, and vice versa. Imagine what creating an affirming and inclusive environment for all children regardless of their gender identity can do for their social and emotional and cognitive health, and thus for that of our society. I am thrilled to see this policy be put forward and I am hopeful for more peaceable and peaceful (school) communities as a result. Thank you!

CommentID: 87943
 

1/4/21  1:18 pm
Commenter: Jen Steele

I fully support this policy!
 

This is a thoughtfully developed set of guidance that has the potential to do wonders to support the whole development of all children. The literature tells us that social and emotional wellbeing contributes to cognitive wellbeing, and vice versa. Imagine what creating an affirming and inclusive environment for all children regardless of their gender identity can do for their social and emotional and cognitive health, and thus for that of our society. I am thrilled to see this policy be put forward and I am hopeful for more peaceable and peaceful (school) communities as a result. Thank you!

CommentID: 87944
 

1/4/21  1:31 pm
Commenter: Marijean Oldham

I Fully Support this Guidance
 


I fully support and applaud the guidance provided by the Virginia Department of Education for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia's Public Schools. As a parent of two school-aged kids and two adults, I am well aware of the need for kids to feel safe to thrive at school. These policies, in addition to the professional development that teachers and staff will receive in order to more fully understand the gender spectrum and gender identity, will be life-affirming for LGBTQ+ students and their families. Thank you for these policies and for prioritizing the safety, well-being, and inclusion of all students in Virginia.

CommentID: 87945
 

1/4/21  1:37 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

I support the draft guidance provided by the VDOE
 

I support the draft guidance provided by the VDOE. 

CommentID: 87948
 

1/4/21  2:29 pm
Commenter: Jennifer Surratt

Fully support!
 

Thank you for engaging the community for public comment on policies to support and protect our transgender students in their education.  I believe that these are necessary steps to move towards a more equitable educational experience for all students.  We know that students who are transgender have to navigate an often hostile world and they should experience both safety and support in their schools and academic communities.  I am encouraged by these next steps and fully support this guidance.

Jennifer Surratt

RIchmond, VA

CommentID: 87950
 

1/4/21  2:33 pm
Commenter: Ann Hardman

Support
 

I fully support this document as an ally and also a mom of a transgender child. 

CommentID: 87951
 

1/4/21  2:38 pm
Commenter: Liz Carlson

Fully support this document!
 

As the parent of a transgender student in VA public schools, I am fully in support of this guidance document, which will help ensure a safe and inclusive environment for my child and so many others.

CommentID: 87952
 

1/4/21  3:00 pm
Commenter: Mónica Socarrás , QLatinx

In support
 

I am in support!

CommentID: 87955
 

1/4/21  5:31 pm
Commenter: Sherry Keenan

100% endorsement and support
 

I support wholeheartedly the model policies for LGTBQ+ students that the VDOE has provided for all Virginia public schools. This is comprehensive, thoughtful, inclusive and kind. 

CommentID: 87961
 

1/4/21  5:38 pm
Commenter: Kelly Lindsay

Statement of support for the draft guidance provided by the VDOE
 

I am the parent of three non-LGBTQ+ children, and I fully support this document as a way to ensure public school as a safe place for all students.  

I remember driving my kids to school the day after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook elementary.   My eyes filled with tears of fear and anxiety imagining that they might not be safe at their sweet community elementary school.  I opened up my minivan door and my son hopped out, only to be greeted with open arms by his teachers, who said "Good Morning!"--just like they did on every other day of school.   In that moment I was flooded with relief and comfort knowing that no matter the situation, my children were surrounded by adults who cared for them just as I would.  School was a safe extension of my home, and that gave me and my kids so much comfort during a traumatic time.

For LGBTQ+ kids, regular days at school can feel uncertain and fear-filled.  They're often navigating physical and psychological spaces that constantly scream: YOU ARE DIFFERENT!  THIS SPACE IS NOT FOR YOU!"  Over time, this kind of marginalization can make kids feel as fear-filled and anxious as I was the day after the 2021 school shooting.  But unlike the random cruelty of violent events, the systemic obstacles and challenges facing LGBTQ+ kids are fixable.  With a relatively small allocation of resources, we can remove some of the things that make schools feel unwelcoming to LGBTQ+ students.   I want LGBTQ kids and their families to feel that same feeling of peace and belonging when they enter their school buildings.  Don't we want to do everything in our power to unmarginalize all children in our communities?  I urge you to consider the recommendations made in this guidance, and push forward for a safer, more inclusive public school system in VA.

CommentID: 87962
 

1/4/21  5:46 pm
Commenter: Susan Goldman

Fully support this policy, please implement without delay
 

I support this policy.

CommentID: 87963
 

1/4/21  5:58 pm
Commenter: Adam Shubert

I support this policy
 

As a Virginia public school parent, I fully support this vital enhancement of our school policies to ensure equity, equality, and respect for all students. Thank you to all involved in crafting these new guidelines.

CommentID: 87964
 

1/4/21  6:04 pm
Commenter: Alix Tate

Fully support the model policy
 

This will help so many of our students feel safe and welcomed at school. Thank you! 

CommentID: 87965
 

1/4/21  6:09 pm
Commenter: Abra Frankel

I support this policy.
 

Thank you

CommentID: 87966
 

1/4/21  6:41 pm
Commenter: Stephanie Leasure

It's about time
 

I fully support this policy and think it's long overdue.

CommentID: 87967
 

1/4/21  7:08 pm
Commenter: David Dooley

A step forward - well done!
 

Thank you for creating the guidance document.  For those who have not read it, then I suggest you do so.  It has great resources included.  A step forward!

CommentID: 87968
 

1/4/21  7:28 pm
Commenter: Brianne Kirkpatrick

I fully support this policy
 

As a parent to three children, I fully support this VDOE policy. One of my children is often misgendered by strangers, when out in public. Knowing that he is safe to express himself at school--a place where the staff, teachers, and students in our community see him for who he is rather than how he looks--has been vital to him developing a sense of himself and the freedom to focus on learning in school. Every child in Virginia deserves the same treatment, starting with protection under the law. Thank you for moving this policy forward in 2021!  

CommentID: 87969
 

1/4/21  8:29 pm
Commenter: Logan Zeigler

Fully support!
 

I support the guidance. All students deserve a safe and inclusive educational environment that recognizes their gender identity and protects their rights.

CommentID: 87970
 

1/4/21  8:32 pm
Commenter: Mahzarine Chinoy

I wholeheartedly support this policy
 

It is a basic human right for all to be who they are with dignity and safety.  It is imperative that our school system supports trans kids during these emotionally intense years such that they can grow up in a safe and wholesome environment.  For these and many more reasons, I fully support this policy.  

CommentID: 87971
 

1/4/21  8:43 pm
Commenter: Anastasia Mazur, Arlington Public Schools Teacher

I fully support this
 

Children cannot learn unless they first feel safe. The trans community is one of the most vulnerable in our country, but it doesn't have to be that way. This bill will pave the way for all trans students in Virginia to have a safe space to grow, play, and learn. As an educator in Virginia it is paramount that this bill passes. 

CommentID: 87972
 

1/4/21  8:45 pm
Commenter: Daniel Grahn, Arlington Public Schools

This will save lives!
 

Transgender students need the support of their school. For one thing, their teachers may be the only adults in their life who are supportive of them. As a transgender person I have been that person who needed support. If I didn’t have that support I don’t know what I would have done. I just want the next generation to have it better than I did.

CommentID: 87973
 

1/4/21  8:53 pm
Commenter: Inku Midoriya

Please and Thank you
 

On behalf of the Trans Children scared to speak up publicly: please take in your heart the existence of these voices and thank you for listening.

On behalf the Trans Allies that stand with and  celebrate every victory of thier Trans Warriors: please add your grit to pulling them from the hells they live and thank you for your strength friend.

On behalf of this Parent of a Trans Child: thank you for taking this moment and please turn this into real and life saving change.

 

CommentID: 87974
 

1/4/21  9:11 pm
Commenter: Amanda Morris

I do not support this policy
 

These troubling policies proposed by VDOE are totally unworkable and will force all students, faculty and administrators to comply with an empirically false view of sex and gender, even if it directly conflicts with their own fundamental beliefs.

CommentID: 87975
 

1/4/21  9:14 pm
Commenter: Teresa Carver

NO!
 

I DO NOT SUPPORT THIS!

CommentID: 87976
 

1/4/21  9:14 pm
Commenter: Amy Cobert

Support This Guidance!
 

I support this guidance because I want my children and all of their friends to be in a school environment that is safe and welcoming for everyone. 

CommentID: 87977
 

1/4/21  9:15 pm
Commenter: Deborah Mason

Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools
 

I don't want anyone at school discussing transgender information with children. It is a law kids have to go to school. However, our taxes support the school. This is not for teachers to teach our children.

CommentID: 87978
 

1/4/21  9:17 pm
Commenter: Complete Mechanical Cont.LLC

Trans
 

There are plenty more reasons to oppose these guidance policies, here's one:

Failure to use a student’s new “preferred pronouns” – which can change from day to day and even defy basic rules of grammar (“ze/hir/hirs”, “they/them/their”) – would be “harassment” and “discrimination”, for which both faculty and students would be subject to disciplinary action.


  1. “For transgender students, acts of verbal harassment may include the intentional and persistent use of names and pronouns not consistent with their identity.” (Recommended Standard, p.10)

    “A school administrator may need to direct school staff to abide by the wishes of a student on their asserted name and pronoun. A school employee’s intentional and persistent refusal to respect a student’s asserted name and pronoun is considered discriminatory.” (Recommended Standard, p.12)

    “Complaints alleging discrimination, harassment, or bullying based on a student’s actual or perceived transgender status shall be handled in the same manner as other discrimination or harassment complaints.” (Draft Policy, p.10)
     

These troubling policies proposed by VDOE are totally unworkable and will force all students, faculty and administrators to comply with an empirically false view of sex and gender, even if it directly conflicts with their own fundamental beliefs.

 

 

CommentID: 87979
 

1/4/21  9:17 pm
Commenter: Bill Shirley

VDOE, transgender policies.
 

These guidelines have nothing to do with instruction, only indoctrination, totally bogus.

CommentID: 87980
 

1/4/21  9:19 pm
Commenter: John McCauley

Transgender student proposed guidelines
 

I do not agree with the proposed guidelines for transgender students. What is proposed is not something initiated by or promoted by our children. Rather it is part of the agenda of he radical left that wants to take parental control away from where it naturally belongs. Radical theories that eradicate all distinctions between male and female and indoctrinate our school children have no appropriate basis in our culture. There are far more pressing problems and programs facing the General Assembly that need addressing. 

CommentID: 87981