Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board 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  1:18 am
Commenter: A Parent

Parents, not schools, should raise children

Transgender students/adults deserve to be respected.  They should not be bullied.  They should feel safe.  

But, when you write policies that work off the assumption that the teachers or counselors at the schools have the right to know MORE than the parents about kids, you are taking on a role that is neither legally yours nor safe for students.  

The most concerning statement in your guidance document:  "If a student is not ready or able to safely share with their family about their transgender status, this should be respected. There are no regulations requiring school staff to notify a parent or guardian of a student’s request to affirm their gender identity, and school staff should work with students to help them share the information with their family when they are ready to do so."

Are you serious?  You TRULY believe that a child's GENDER choice should be kept from the people who are responsible for raising them?  Parents are legally responsible for their children; or are you planning to take that on, as well?  So, parents can just dump their kids off with you whenever they have disagreements now, since the schools will be taking responsibility for raising all of the students, right?  Because the weak argument you are trying to make here is that you understand and care about  kids more than their own families.

It takes arrogance, audacity and ignorance to step in between parents and their children.  You have taken an important topic - that transgender students deserve safety and respect - and have created a policy that completely oversteps your place in the world.  You are not raising these children.  You do NOT have a lifelong relationship with them that their parents do/will.  You are people who we, the tax-payers, PAY to do a job - - educate students.  The work you do is important, but in NO way does it now, nor will it ever, supersede the place of parents in those students lives.  You have zero right to keep life-changing information from parents.  This is not your place.  

Additionally, your policy is written with the assumption that all of the teachers and counselors involved with the students truly have their best interests in mind.  There have been enough predators in the school system that you are utterly delusional if you think there are not people who will take advantage of the secrecy afforded by this policy.  I have taught my kids that parents and teachers keep NO secrets from each other, and their teachers have taught the same; kids should NEVER be in a position where another adult has more information about them than their own families or is encouraging them to keep secrets from their parents. That is an open-door for predators. But, this policy advocates that adults who have maybe known students for 6 months or a year are allowed to withhold significant, life-altering information from the parents who have known them their whole lives.  Again, what incredible arrogance.  Having a teaching or counseling degree does not raise your position in the world over that of parents.  You do not hold this right.  

Please, PLEASE step back a moment and stop allowing a few advocates to bulldog their opinions into policy.  There will be some parents who do not agree with the school staff, or even the get them counseling, if that is what is necessary.  There are also parents who do not want their kids playing sports; would you put them on a sport team without permission?  No.  Why?  Because you would get sued, because you Do Not Have The Right.   

For some reason, this particular topic has been slipped into policy in the most invasive, underhanded way I have ever witnessed; the fact that the policy-makers have placed educators over parents for this issue alone is a clear indicator that there is another agenda at work here.   Please do not allow such an incredibly subjective view to be written into policy for the entire state.   Instead of protecting an agenda, please rewrite the document to protect the STUDENTS and FAMILIES. You are not entitled to guide children in such a personal, significant area, any more than you have the right to force your religion or political beliefs on them.  You have a temporary role in these students' lives; please don't presume to know what is best for them.  Politics do not trump Parents. 

CommentID: 94702