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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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2/3/21  1:35 am
Commenter: Bradley cox

As a father of two girls i strongly disagree
 
I read through other posts to help find the best way to relay my feelings the best way i could and came across this. This persons post hits my feelings prefectly. This is dangerous, for everyone involved, the students, the teachers and the parents. I will be pulling my children from public schooling if this passes.

Oppose: Violates 1st, 5th &14th Amendment; violates settled law regarding parental rights
 

I would like to second the comments made by Paula Ryan of the the Family Foundation.  I've added my own clarifications using [brackets]:

If passed in its current form, VDOE policies would allow any student, while at school, to act as a member of the opposite sex – including name change, pronouns, and the use of opposite sex bathrooms and locker rooms – without the knowledge of and permission of the student’s parents. Additionally, under these guidelines, schools will also be permitted to help a student explore, facilitate, and make decisions about his or her sexual identity while at school without the permission of the child’s parents.[This violates settled law regarding parental rights.]

Additional policies proposed by the VDOE include:

1.      Failure to use a student’s new “preferred pronouns” – which can change from day to day and even defy basic rules of grammar (“ze/hir/hirs”, “they/them/their”) – would be “harassment” and “discrimination”, for which both faculty and students would be subject to disciplinary action.

2.      The definition of “Gender identity” is completely subjective to each person claiming it, hence it cannot possibly be known by anyone except that person. Since it cannot be tested or ascertained by any objective method, nothing could prevent students from constantly “changing” their “gender identity” to exploit many situations.

3.      Parents who encourage their children to embrace their God-given sex would be at risk of being reported for child abuse or neglect by the school.

4.      Schools would be prohibited from notifying parents if a biological male is using the same changing facility as their daughter that was designated for girls.

5.      All students will be allowed to use any bathroom or locker room they choose, without being questioned by any school administrator or faculty, eliminating privacy and safety of students in states of undress.

6.      Parents will not be notified that their child is being interrogated by school officials for allegedly violating these policies, nor will parents have the opportunity to intervene on their child’s behalf UNLESS the complaints are not resolved “at the school level.” [This is a clear violation of due process clause of the 5th amendment.]

**Please note: All of the above proposed policies are permitted without the permission of the children’s parents.

Wait a minute, aren’t parents responsible for the upbringing of their children?

Yes, when it comes to raising children, parents are ultimately responsible for their children’s care and well-being. Additionally, most Americans believe that parents should have the primary responsibility of raising and educating their children and that the government should not interfere with this right except in cases of abuse and neglect.

Parents assume a variety of responsibilities including providing for the child’s basic needs, ensuring the child is educated, and protecting the child from harm. This isn’t just my opinion, either. The law in Virginia clearly affirms these principles in § 1-240.1 where it clearly states that, “A parent has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, education, and care of the parent’s child.” Furthermore, in 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the rights of parents in Troxel v. Granville when it noted that “the liberty interest….of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by the Court.”

The Supreme Court also affirmed the natural duty of parents in Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925) when it overturned an Oregon law that prohibited parents from sending their children to private schools. The Court asserted that that the Oregon laws violated the fundamental rights of parents to direct their children’s education noting that, “The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”

There are also legal and financial responsibilities that go along with raising children. In particular, as with most states, parents in Virginia can be held legally and financially responsible for the actions of their children. For example, if a parent or guardian fails to take reasonable steps to supervise their minor children, and one of the minor children causes harm to another person or to someone’s real or personal property, then the child’s parent can be held legally and financially responsible for the actions of that child. These are called parental responsibility laws, and they have been part of our legal system for over a century.

It is abundantly clear that the Commonwealth of Virginia is guilty of actively seeking to undermine parental authority by implementing rules that lie in direct contrast to the legal responsibilities of parents as recognized by the Virginia Code and the U.S. Supreme Court.

What about the rights of the students who are not “transgender”?

I think we can all agree on one thing – no child should be bullied for any reason. However, this doesn’t mean that kids claiming to be (or being told by adults that they are) “transgender” should be allowed to force other children to accept environments that make them feel uncomfortable, conflicted, or violated. For instance, the notion that all students must be permitted to use the bathroom of the opposite gender if they simply  “identify” as such because using the other bathroom would make them feel uncomfortable ignores the fact that this will likely cause many other students to feel equally, if not more, uneasy. [This is the correct way to interpret the 14th amendment.  The narrowly construed and twisted "understanding" used in the proposed VDOE policy includes holdover language from the Obama administration that was never proposed or debated in Congress and has not been subject to judicial review.]

If the idea behind the new “transgender” policies in Virginia’s schools truly is to promote equality, then doesn’t every student deserve the same right of feeling safe and secure in school? If we can agree that the answer to this question is “YES,” then we must also acknowledge that the goal of the VDOE fails to recognize that every single student deserves fair and equal treatment especially given the fact that the number of students who accept their biological sex far exceeds those who do not.  [In fact, the VDOE has not provided this very important piece of information: How many children who identify as transgender (or their parents/legal guardians) have filed a formal complaint of harassment based on activities at or connected with school?]

The proposed policies also provide no exceptions or accommodations for a student whose religious faith or conscience prevents him or her from adhering to the transgender ideology or policies. Indeed, these policies promote and accommodate the extraordinary faith claims of “transgenderism” over those who faith-based beliefs that God created mankind as either male or female and that gender is fixed from the moment of conception and cannot be changed regardless of an individual’s feelings or desires (and for which science empirically validates). At a minimum, religious exemptions and conscience protections should be afforded to those who are substantially burdened by the VDOE policy to ensure that the fundamental right of parents to raise their children in the manner of their choosing is respected and protected. But children should never be put in the position to have to raise those rights and objections to begin with. VDOE failure to address religious liberty in the proposed policy clearly violate the 1st amendment. 

The bottom line:

[VDOE cannot make policy that blatantly violates the 1st, 5th, 14th amendments and settled law regarding parental rights.] We know parental rights are not without limits. The state has a legitimate right to step in when abuse or neglect as generally understood are reasonably suspected. Additionally, the Commonwealth of Virginia already has the authority to set reasonable educational requirements to ensure that ALL students are treated respectfully while at school [- additional rules like this one are not required.] Parental authority should never be superseded by the State without substantial cause, and public schools have a high duty to respect parents’ fundamental rights and authority over their children. These so-called “Model Transgender Guidelines” fail [to recognize existing laws/statutes which already cover the issue at hand.  Additionally the proposed policy fails to adequately scope the problem, provide cost/benefits, identify resources required, emphasize settled law regarding parental rights and constitutional authorities that protect all student not just a few




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