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Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Agency
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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1/16/21  12:44 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Opposed -- Parent and Teacher Spouse
 

As a parent, I see nothing good that can come from this proposal.  It usurps parental rights to have knowledge of a situation at school that may impact their child, whether they are a parent of a transgender student or the parent of another student in the locker room.  And there is so much in the policy that contradicts itself.  For example, a teacher must use preferred pronouns but they must also treat transgender information as medical and confidential.  So, this puts our teachers in a no-win situation and subject to legal action, regardless of which policy they try to honor.  Further, it infringes on a teacher's right to follow their own religious beliefs and ideology.  It is scary to think that pronouns are now so dangerous that they would be classified as forms of harassment or discrimination, which sets a dangerous legal precedent for any citizen.  I am most concerned that a school is not required to notify parents of a student's wish to pursue a different gender identity.  Students hide enough information from parents through the use of social media, texting, etc.  Schools are clearly overstepping their bounds and responsibilities by taking on the role of helping a child explore their sexuality.  Parents should be allowed to have those conversations at home, hopefully as a partner in the process.  Most of all, I worry about the responsibilities we are now placing on teachers.  They have already taken on so much of a parenting role -- where do we draw the line in deciding all that a teacher is responsible for versus all that a parent is responsible for?  As a parent, I don't want the school to raise my child the way I believe they should be raised -- and how we discuss sexual identity at home should not be classified as a form of child abuse or neglect.  Again, the fact that words are now considered abuse or neglect is a scary legal precedent.  I am empathetic and compassionate that sexual identity is not easy to navigate for every child or parent.  However, this policy does nothing to reinforce or strengthen the partnership that should be had between a school and a parent in that process.  I am worried more than ever about the government overreach and pushing of one ideology over another, into the average citizen's home life.

CommentID: 90368