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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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1/15/21  4:29 pm
Commenter: Jason Spangler

Some concerns
 

While we understand the need to implement policies that prevent abuse and discrimination against transgender students, we do have two major concerns with the model policies recommended in the document.

 

One, parents are the primary caretakers of their children and are the ones most responsible for safeguarding and protecting them. Therefore, a child’s “privacy” does not supersede the parents’ right to know what is happening with their child. Only in cases of documented neglect or abuse should another authority (e.g., a school or school district) step in, with an official governmental (e.g., Child Protective Services) and/or law enforcement (e.g., police) agency, and supersede the parents’ rights and responsibilities.  Leaving parents of the transgender child out of the equation leads to lies, hurt and damage for the entire family.

 

In our elementary school, a child came out as transgender, and the school only involved the counselors and the students. You can imagine the questions that all of these children brought home. As a parent, it would have been nice to know and be prepared to walk my child through this important and confusing issue.

 

Two, as parents of two teenage daughters, we must protect them from any potential embarrassment, harassment, or abuse from those of the opposite biological sex, regardless of gender identity. To allow anyone into a female locker room, particularly without the ability to question their gender, opens the potential for abuse (physical, mental, emotional) from those who would take advantage of this policy as an opportunity to damage others including transgender individuals. Therefore, changes should be made to this policy or anything similar to prevent this from happening. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration of these comments and your work on these important issues.

CommentID: 90230