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.
Commenter: Darrell H
I am strongly opposed to this proposed legislation. My top concerns include:
- As a parent, it is my job to nurture my children and facilitate the development, growth, and well-being of my children. As such, it is completely unconscionable that decisions as serious as gender identity would be handled without either parental knowledge or parental consent of school-aged children. Schools require parental consent for activities as simple as field trips and participation in sports. In no way should the school be allowed to help minors make decisions as serious as gender identity without informed parental guidance and consent.
- The draft policy stipulates that potential incidents of discrimination, harassment, or bullying would not be brought to a parents’ attention unless they are not resolved “at the school level.” This is counter to any other conduct of disciplinary action in schools, for example in-class behavior issues, attendance, etc where parents are informed and are allowed to care for their children as appropriate. Removal of parents from the resolution of these situations could harm parent-child relationships and force minors to make decisions without the advice of their legal guardians.
- As a parent of daughters, I am also particularly concerned about provisions that would allow the use of bathrooms and locker rooms by either gender with no notice or means for parents or even school officials to defend my daughters against individuals who would abuse such a system in a predatory manner, to the potential harm of the health and well-being of my daughters and the daughters of other parents.
- As written, there is no consideration for religious or ideological views that vary from this proposed legislation. As parents, we have the constitutional right to exercise religious freedom free from government persecution, and that includes in how we care for and raise our children. We have the ability to opt in and out of any number of school programs based on religious or philosophical views, why is this topic different?