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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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1/5/21  11:13 pm
Commenter: S lee, parent

Don't support infringing parent rights, non-definable status, one sided inclusivity education

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

I believe the parent has the right to direct and shape their own child, more than the school system. Parental rights should be upheld. Children that are abused for any reason should be reported to CPS. But this document seems to convey that the school system has more authority than the parent in determining what is best for a child. I do not agree with this premise and therefore do not support that language in the document that can easily lead to a parent not being informed of a child's transgender struggles. I would like to see more evidence and research that clearly shows that not telling parents results in a child having reduced suicide, depression, and illicit drug use before it is codified as fact in a school policy.

I also do not agree with the choice to leave gender status so non-definable and ambiguous. Even if it is a process for the transgender child, the process should not cause others undue chaos. Why does this policy determine that a school should not require particular substantive evidence including diagnosis or a set duration? Other accommodations (handicap, food allergies, religion) require someone to substantiate their need for accommodations both so that there can be order and so that accommodations are not taken advantage of. The school should be able to set guidelines for how a student proceeds to identify themselves as a gender other than their assigned sex. The process should include counselor input, medical doctor input, parental involvement and I believe a set duration of a persistent behavior.

The policy to include inclusivity education specific to LGBTQ issues infringes on my right as a parent to educate my child when I feel is most appropriate and on what I feel they need to know. Parents will not be able to opt out of this education if it is infused throughout the curriculum (vs just in a FLE unit) as this document seems to propose. General education on bullying (caring about the feelings of everyone) does not necessitate the need for children to be overtly taught the definitions of the LGBTQ vocabulary nor do elementary children need to read books about Drag Queens and Transgender Boys or Girls. I do not agree with these topics being taught by the schools because it is someone else's belief in what is normal. Additionally, is there adequate evidence that such education does not increase harmful outcomes in students? I personally know staff that reported many many issues among the kindergarten children that were read "I am Jazz" in an Arlington elem school. Is there substantive evidence that such activities are harmless? There should be a strong body of evidence (like in medicine - the first law is to "do no harm") before it is prescribed and enforced across the board for all classes/ages/schools as this document seeks to do.

I also do not support the school requiring LGBTQ education for all of its staff. This education is biased in that it is only one side of the facts. It often does not inform of the benefits of counseling a child in so labeled "conversion therapy". The curriculum is not vetted nor supported by strongly peer reviewed reproducible research, yet it is used as factual. There are no provisions for staff members and students to practice their own beliefs (which may be contrary to those in this document) in a protected manner.

CommentID: 88519