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  11:52 pm
Commenter: Marian E.

Strongly opposed

There are a great many problems with this model policy on transgender students. 1. Biological sex is an objective reality. Requiring everyone to use opposite-sex pronouns or be judged guilty of harrassment (p. 10) is requiring everyone to lie.  2. This requires ALL facilities and activities that are sex-segregated to be based on gender identity rather than biological sex: restrooms, locker rooms, overnight accomodations on field trips (pp. 16, 17).  It is a gross violation of privacy, especially for biological girls, to require them to share intimate spaces like bathrooms and locker rooms with the opposite sex.  3.  Compounding the problem, the document advises teachers not to challenge any student entering what may appear to be the wrong restroom, etc., since being challenged may be emotionally harmful to a transgender student (p. 17).  This is an open invitation to non-trans teenage mischief-makers or predatory boys, who do actually exist.  4.  Moreover, although the document pays lip service to the idea of allowing any student who is uncomfortable to request alternate accomodations, it also specifies that transgender status is protected health information and may not be disclosed without the trans student's permission (p.11), so an objecting student may not know until after the fact.  5.  Based solely on the trans student's statement that he or she would feel unsafe, the school is not to tell his or her own parents about trangender status (p.12). Parents have the right to know what is going on with their own children.  Parents often know details about mental health, past trauma, physical problems, etc., that may be extremely relevant and the school may not know about. Teenagers do often exaggerate and sometimes are known to lie, and the majority of parents want what is best for their children. Lying to parents is a gross betrayal of trust on the part of school staff.  6.  Participation by biological boys on girls' athletic teams is unfair.  Male puberty confers a significant advantage.  As one example, in 3 years of competition two transgender athletes in Connecticut took 15 state titles that had been set over more than a decade by about 9 different actual girls.

For all these reasons, and more, I oppose the model policy. 

There is one portion of the document that is quite reasonable, having to do with dress codes.  If it will relieve gender dysphoria, by all means allow students flexibility in what they wear.  I would also strongly support making sure there are single-user bathrooms/changing rooms available for transgender students who are not comfortable using the facilities available for their biological sex. 

CommentID: 97150