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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  9:14 am
Commenter: Lee Anne Galanes

Concerns about Transgender Policy as currently written

Dear VDOE:

As a public school  parent, I am terribly concerned that your draft policy grossly infringes on parental rights to know what's going on with their children, is harmful to children identifying as trans, and is incredibly insensitive to ethnic minorities.  Arlington, Virginia (where my kids are in school) drafted its transgender policy with similar exclusive language about providing parents information about their children.  I am comfortable with where Arlington landed - namely, by making ample accommodations for children identifying as transgender but not impeding parents from knowing how their own children expressing themselves at school. It is A SIGNIFICANT OVERREACH for the Commonwealth to so exclude parents in such an egregious way.  If one of my kids identified as a different gender at school, it should be my right to know about something so important going on with them.  Furthermore, your policy suggests that teachers have more rights than parents in the lives of children.  Given that transgender children have such high rates of depression and suicide, it is horrific that you would want to exclude parents in important information about their kids.  A parent is the first line in suicide prevention; your policy may create horrible situations by specifically excluding parents.  Plus, it seems so harmful to kids' mental health to encourage these children to live with a dual reality between home and school.  Furthermore, while I am left-leaning, my kids go to school here in zip code 22204 with so many conservative Muslim families.  This policy needs to consider the needs of ethnic minorities that yes, may have different views about gender, but should still have rights to parent according to their creed.  Asking a child to wear a hijab (while no, is not something I will ever do) should not be a reason to call CPS.  Rather, counseling and mediation for a whole family should be the answer.

Please revise this draft with something more reasonable.



CommentID: 94922