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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  10:52 am
Commenter: Rory Harkleroad

Support: It Saves Lives

The importance of having support in schools for trans, non-binary, and gender conforming youth is critical for their development and their long term health. Being trans myself, I had the great privilege of going to a school with significant support for trans students, and I think without it I would be in a much worse place as an adult. I am tired of watching my trans peers go back and forth out of mental institutions because they don’t have access to a supportive community and accepting information provided about their identity. During the time of my initial transition, two trans friends of mine from my hometown killed themselves. I am heartbroken when I hear of trans youth in my city getting disowned from their parents, ending up in a homeless shelter, and turning to heroin from the pain of it.

Having supportive and non-discriminatory spaces in schools and among school staff can make a world of difference and preventing years of unnecessary trauma and social exile. It has been shown in multiple studies that when trans people have support, their likelihood of suicide goes down significantly. Be there for your students, identity and beautiful differences and all that comes with it. Offer supportive information on what it means to transition and the complexity of personal identity and you’ll create an informed and responsible class of trans, non-binary, and GNC youth. I don’t see how not supporting students does anything but exile people and create a host of issues that are much harder to resolve in someone’s life

CommentID: 95127