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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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1/14/21  12:57 pm
Commenter: Concerned Physician and Grandparent

Strongly Oppose Policy on Transgender Students
 

There are multiple reasons to oppose this policy. Most concerning, there is no scientific or objective way for someone to define gender as proposed in this policy.  The policy is defining gender based on an individual's personal feelings or preferences at any given moment.  Feelings are quite variable and can change frequently in children and are subject to all kinds of external and peer pressures.  In contrast, one's biological sex is objective and can be confirmed scientifically.  Available prospective data suggest that most children who express a desire for a gender different than their sex defined at birth will identify and adopt their biological sex by the time they are adults.  Moreover, the US Constitution guarantees religious freedom that permits parents to provide religious and moral instruction to their children.  It also protects the religious freedoms of students. This policy interferes with parental rights and the religious freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.  

Specific concerns include: Failure to use a student's new "preferred pronouns," which could change from day to day and even defy basic rules of grammar, would be classified as harassment and discrimination.  Both faculty and other students would be subject to disciplinary action.  Schools will be permitted to help a student, explore and make decisions regarding gender expression while at school without a parent even knowing. Since gender is such a fluid concept, without any scientific or objective measure, nothing will prevent a student from changing their gender identity to exploit specific situations. Parents who encourage their children to embrace their biological sex due their religious beliefs or their recognition that children can go through a phase of thinking or preferring a gender that is different than their biological sex, but will later affirm it as adults.  Administrators and teachers will not be able to validate a student's biological sex. Knowledge of a student's biological sex can a very important aspect of assessing and providing appropriate interventions to optimize student learning and health. Parents will not be notified if a biological male student was using the same changing facility as their daughter.  All students will be allowed to use any bathroom locker room they choose, eliminating privacy and safety concerns of students who may be partly or completely undressed.  The lack of sex-specific dress codes will cause disruptions and distractions, permitting biological boys to wear skirts and girls to go topless in activities where boys can, such as swimming activities or playing team sports. Parents will not be notified that their child is being interrogated by school officials for allegedly violating these policies, or have the opportunity to intervene on their child's behalf, unless the complaints are not resolved at the school level. The policies provide absolutely no exceptions or accommodations for a student or teacher whose religious faith, conscience, or understanding of biology, sociology, and psychology prevents them from being able to go along with the concepts of gender identity that underlie this policy. 

 

CommentID: 89982