Virginia Department of Education to draft model policies for the treatment of transgender students
If the VDOE approves the draft policies, I believe they would undercut parents’ involvement in the life of tour children at school, and endanger the bodily privacy and safety of all students. The proposed policies articulate views – such as the view that “Gender identity is considered an innate characteristic that most children declare by age five to six” – are far different from those of many parents including my own. Schools have a duty to protect the bodily privacy and dignity of all students. No child should be forced to share showers, locker rooms, hotel rooms or other intimate settings with a member of the opposite biological sex. Many children would feel uncomfortable when they encounter a member of the opposite sex – particularly adults – in gendered facilities or when entering a shared hotel room as part of an overnight school activity. Children, particularly adolescents, can experience hypersensitive and traumatic reactions to these situations. Schools should not be accommodating the especially harmful view that youth is an appropriate time to be encouraging, in some cases, irreversible “gender transitions”. The model regulations infringe the First Amendment rights of parents to raise and care for their children. The Department’s proposed policies would pit children against their parents when it comes to important questions about sex and gender identity.