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.
Previous Comment     Next Comment     Back to List of Comments
2/3/21  11:53 pm
Commenter: Edward Brown

Virginia Department of Education Model Policies for Transgender Students

All too often when issues that are passionate and political enter into the domain of child/teen education, the individual(s) involved are often the first thing forgotten. It becomes more about the winning and losing and a political agenda then it is about the children or their families. I have worked professionally with children for over 35 years. I know one thing to be completely true and that is with children, generalities and agenda are not going to work. Children, ages 18 and below, need to be heard and helped by those that understand the specifics of the situation, that know the individual(s) involved, and are helped by those that know best. I have read in detail the legislation that is being put forward and a great deal of it is excellent. But there are parts of the legislation that harm both the individual that they are trying to help and parents and other individuals that are the closest to the situation. One of my best friends is a Child Psychologist in Germany. When I asked him for his insight he sighed and commented that the problem with Americans in this context is that anything to do with psychology/psychiatry, we immediately go to extremes without consideration for science, study, and the individuals involved. He said that political implementation and demonstrative emotion is going to make the situation much worse. You have to have time to study the situation, and especially Gender dysphoria, which is so often accompanied by other factors (Depression, home life, learning disabilities etc.). In Sweden, widely known as the standard bearer for Gender Dysphoria treatment, Gender Change assignment, and any therapy relating to this subject, they would look at the rules you are planning as being abusive and harmful. Giving an individual with a serious psychological burden and who is also dealing with the huge difficulties of adolescence and peer pressure, the power of decisions that they are not able to understand or handle will potentially cripple them and greatly impair decision making. Potentially separating them from the help, insight, and guidance of their parents only adds to the danger. In simple terms, giving teenagers who are in trying circumstances the power over their situation without consideration for their immediate well being and their long term well being is dangerous. Taking away Constitutional and ethical rights of the parents to help their children, makes it worse. Now let's make it an imposition upon the student body and the staff and then you are cementing a difficult situation into a potentially dangerous situation. In any other situation, the staff of the school would never consider taking away power and information from parents and giving it to a teenager (Or younger) in any other context. Apply the same context to academics, disciplinary behavior, finances, or any other aspect of life. If a 13 year old child comes forward and says that they identify as an adult and that they are free to take tests when they want, use whatever bathroom they want, behave as they want, respect and disrespect whom they want, then instruct the staff that they are to not be disciplined and not allowed to report this to the students parents because the student is now the adult.

Please take a step back and look at the situation again without the glasses of politics and passion. Take more time to study with the goal being to guide and educate the individual, whether they are a young person dealing with a difficult issue, or a classmate of someone dealing with the issue, or a parent, or a teacher.


Edward Brown

CommentID: 97152