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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
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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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1/12/21  2:03 pm
Commenter: Jordan W.

I STRONGLY OPPOSE (mother of 2 teens)
 

I strongly oppose these changes. Teenagers (and I have 2 currently) are far too young to be able to fully understand the consequences they will experience by making these changes to their lives and their bodies. These guidelines put teachers and administrators in very precarious positions which are determined by the whims of hormonal teenagers. It seems unfair and unwise for all involved.  It is not the school's place to help teenagers through this kind of confusion -- it is the family's responsibility. Please do not do this. There are so many other ways to counsel teens through this, rather than elevating it to this kind of place of importance over other things. Our sexuality is not the sum total of our identity -- it is only a part of who we are. And with all the confusion that adolescents ALREADY have about what role sex plays in life, shouldn't we help them understand this, rather than throw gas on the fire of misunderstandings and the glorified place sexuality has in our culture? Please do not do this. 

These need to be removed:

“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)

“School divisions will need to consider the health and safety of the student in situations where students may not want their parents to know about their transgender status … There are no regulations requiring school staff to notify a parent or guardian of a student’s request to affirm their gender identity...” (Recommended Standard, p.12) 

“Gender Identity: A person’s internal sense of their own identity as a boy/man, girl/woman, something in between, or outside the male/female binary. Gender identity is an innate part of a person’s identity and can be the same or different from the sex assigned at birth.” (Definitions, p.6) 

“A student is considered transgender if, at school, the student consistently asserts a gender identity different from the sex assigned at birth… it does not necessarily require any substantiating evidence nor any required minimum duration of expressed gender
identity ...” (Recommended Standard, p.12) 

“Schools shall allow students to assert a name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity without any substantiating evidence.” (Draft Policy, p.13) 

“In addition to adhering to all legal standards of confidentiality, school personnel shall treat information relating to a student’s transgender status as being particularly sensitive, shall not disclose it to other students and parents, and shall only disclose to other school personnel with a legitimate educational interest.” (Draft Policy, p.12) 

“Access to facilities such as restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to a student’s gender identity shall be available to all students.” (Draft Policy, p.18) 

“School staff should not confront students about their gender identity upon entry into the restroom.” (Recommended Standard, p.18) 

“Students have a right to dress in a manner consistent with their gender identity or gender expression. Schools shall administer and enforce dress and grooming codes consistently across the student body, regardless of actual or perceived gender identity or gender expression. Requirements for attire for school-related programs, activities, and events shall be gender-neutral.” (Draft Policy, p.16) 

“Any incident or complaint of discrimination, harassment, or bullying shall be given prompt attention, including investigating the incident and taking appropriate corrective action, by the school administrator. …The [School Division’s Designated Contact] shall be available to hear concerns from students or parents when complaints are not resolved at the school level.” (Draft Policy, p.10) 

 

CommentID: 89704