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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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1/10/21  3:14 pm
Commenter: Holly G.

FULL SUPPORT
 

I fully support the thoughtful and comprehensive Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia Public Schools. 

In reviewing the mission statements of various public school districts across our state it is made very clear that families and schools strive to partner together with the community to empower every student to become a lifelong learner, responsibly and ethically engaged with the global community. The words “ALL” and “EVERY” are included in each statement. The following are just a few examples taken from missions/values/beliefs of public school districts across the state of Virginia dedicated to EVERY child.

  • Being "open to change and valuing differences" (VA Beach)

  • Viewing "diversity as our strength" (Fairfax)

  • Recognition of "each students individuality" (Floyd) 

  • "Every child, by name and by need to graduation" (Lynchburg) 

  • Being "an inclusive community that empowers" (Arlington)

  • Valuing "physical safety and emotional well being" (Montgomery)

  • Dedication to "success for all" (Harrisonburg)   

  • "Treating all individuals with dignity and respect" (Albemarle) 

Now is the time to help every school district align to their mission statements/values and beliefs by ensuring that transgender and non-binary people are included in "ALL" and "EVERY" in our Virginia Public Schools. 

My past experience as a parent in the public school system was spent advocating for basic decency and best practices for gender expansive children in an elementary school setting. Some people may feel that some of what is included in the policy goes without saying. I can say from first hand experience, that the intentions and directions must be explicit. For example, in working with my child’s school I was asking that the school discontinue separating kids by binary gender for a class project and modify greetings by saying “good morning kids” instead of “good morning boys and girls.”  Despite my efforts to show the statistics that these types of gender affirming changes create space in the community and SAVE LIVES, the administration responded to this request with, “we cannot provide this direction and make these changes until there is a district policy.” Virginia public schools are asking for this explicit support and the Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia Public Schools provides thoughtful, comprehensive support for school districts and the families they proudly partner with. 

My opportunity to see, love and grow with my gender expansive child has been my life’s greatest gift. I have learned more about myself and the world we live in through them and can see the negative effects of the binary gender normative in our society. I often say, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Before my child, I honestly did not know. I did not have the understanding that I do now. Creating space for gender diversity in our schools will benefit all people. I also live by, “the more you know, the better you can do.” We can all do better and The Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia Public Schools has been thoroughly reviewed and endorsed by psychologists, social workers, student representatives, and the Executive Directors from three of the leading LGBTQ+ support organizations in the state (Equality Virginia, Side By Side, and He She Ze & We), along with policy and education experts to help us ALL do better. 

I fully support the adoption of this policy because the more we know the better we can ALL do. Our school districts can become better aligned with their stated missions/visions and we can make space in our communities for everyone to be their authentic selves. 

 

CommentID: 89374