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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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1/6/21  1:59 pm
Commenter: Heather

Strongly Oppose - Sexual Identity Provisions Within Schools

I would appeal for a sense of caution, especially for the protection of our students. Some could very well use the new appropriations to take advantage of other classmates (in particular, those who are younger and/or more vulnerable and of a different sex). Allowing for shared bathrooms to be used freely by students of any sex automatically removes a certain amount of protection and opens more opportunities for sexual abuse. For example, an older teenage boy could use a temporary claim to a different sexual identity (being given the right to do so under protection of the new laws) only for the purpose of stalking a young girl in a bathroom. This is a path that will only lead to devastating results. 

As to the provisions that prohibit the school from sharing information on a student’s perceived sexual identity with the parents of that child - again, I ask for extreme caution. Are parents not given an innate role to lovingly protect and nurture their children, giving them what they need to grow into responsible, wholesome, mature adults that contribute positively to society? How are well-intentioned parents able to fulfill that role when the divide between parents and students is marked more deeply by students being taught to avoid going to their parents with their naturally sensitive questions about identity and self worth? Without a strong sense of family, children and young adults often struggle with identity and worth, turning to extremely unhealthy choices like drugs. Please do not make provisions that encourage deeper division and less protection. 

With respect and great concern,

Heather Ryan

CommentID: 88633