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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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1/13/21  11:28 pm
Commenter: Jessica Moore

Excellent Document - Some Points Need Minor Clarifications
 

This document is well-written and comprehensive, and I hope will support school divisions in developing policies that will protect transgender students. I have a few notes on specific sections below: 

Bullying, Harassment, and Discrimination section
* Please clarify that abusive and discriminatory behaviors towards a student should be defined as unacceptable and reportable, whether it comes from other students, staff, faculty, or school division administration.
* Please require that policies and communications of the policy provide clear means of escalating reports of violations of the policy.
* Please require policies to cover events taking place on school grounds, during school field trips and events, and using school communications or tools, in addition to defining which parties are barred from discriminatory and abusive behaviors.

Student Privacy / Confidentiality section
* Please make it clearer that the decision about whether to disclose gender identity, gender transition, and gender status resides solely with the student (and not with faculty, staff or administration). I believe that's intended here, but it is unclear, and could allow room for unsupportive individuals to out other individuals.
* Please make clear that, while a student may request to transfer to a new school setting in order to ease gender transition, the school and the administration must not require it, and such an attempt to require or pressure a student to transfer would be deemed abusive.

Access to Activities and Facilities section
* Please broaden the definition of a "single-gender activity or program" to clarify whether schools may have non-competitive single-gender sports teams and competitive academic clubs, which are more common and complex example than single-gender chorus. Please clarify how school districts must support transgender students who wish to participate, when a gendered activity is deemed appropriate and allowable.

Thank you for this excellent work.  May it help and support our children.

CommentID: 89949