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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  2:34 pm
Commenter: Tim McGhee

Considerations to address

Page 20 of the document implies that parents would only be included in a "multi-disciplinary school team" if the parents are affirming of a non-cisgender identity. Even if they are not affirming, they should still be included in discussions with the school system about their child.

Page 19 says “local school boards may need to review agreements and processes with community partners for any activities taking place on school grounds to ensure consistency in practices.” Does that mean a church would not be allowed to rent space in a school facility if they are not transgender-affirming?

In the name of including non-cisgender students in sex-segregated activities and use of facilities with cisgender students (Pages 17-18), it is not clear that full consideration has been given to the cisgender students and the effects of these policies on their participation. For instance, if a biological male is changing clothes with biological females, what about the effects that has on the biological females? Having a few individual private areas does not sufficiently account for the effects on, for instance, the majority of young female middle school students having someone who is still biologically male in the same room while they are changing clothes. What about times in those circumstances when there is no adult supervision in the room such as when a teacher's role is being covered by a substitute teacher?

The activity policies (Page 16) are being implemented in the name of inclusion, yet in many instances the net effect may result in excluding gender-based activities altogether.

With regard to bullying (Pages 9-11), there are many of us who agree on principle that bullying is wrong and should not be allowed. The question is what constitutes bullying? My concern is does or could it include disagreeing with transgender ideas in general? If someone were to claim that what is called “cisgender” or “sex assigned at birth” is the only gender, would that count as bullying? It should not.

CommentID: 95595