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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  2:11 pm
Commenter: Erin King

In strong support of this!!!

I am so glad to see Virginia making an effort to treat trans and non-binary students with the same respect afforded to cisgender students. I see absolutely no reason why students should not be given the respect of being called by the names and pronouns they want to be called by--calling a trans kid by their chosen name instead of their deadname is no different than calling a kid named Michael by Mike if that's what they prefer...except that in the case of the trans kid, it will significantly impact their mental health to not be constantly treated as though they are not worth that respect.

As for providing trans and non-binary students with a place to feel comfortable changing clothes and using the bathroom, I do not understand the problem that people have with this. It literally impacts no one but the student to offer a gender-neutral space where they can feel comfortable taking care of private matters, and for those people so concerned with trans students using the bathrooms or locker room they feel most comfortable in, I would like to know why their cisgender students' comfort rates more thought and respect than the comfort of the trans students. If they have such concerns about their cis daughters having "a boy" in the locker room with them, how do they think a trans girl is going to feel being stuck in a locker room with a bunch of boys? I guarantee these students all just want to use the bathroom/get into their gym uniforms in peace, and providing them with a neutral place to do so or allowing them to use the locker room where they will be most comfortable hurts no one. 

It's so important for kids to grow up feeling accepted for who they are, and to see others who are not like them as being people deserving of respect and kindness. We hear all the time about teen suicide rates, etc., and taking even these tiny steps to make school a safer and more inclusive place will not only allow students to feel like they are not being ostracized or punished for being true to themselves, but will also teach others that different is not bad or wrong. We can't rely on parents to teach this all by themselves, because obviously there are a lot of parents out there who won't. Making schools a place where inclusivity and kindness are observable and practiced will help normalize being accepting of differences so that kids who don't have that modeled elsewhere in their lives will perhaps still be able to internalize that lesson.

CommentID: 95549