The VDOE Transgender Model Policy is required by ill-advised law, unfortunately; this policy has many serious issues that violate the rights of and discriminate against all other students and parents, remove parents from faculty decisions, and other issues.
The terminology on page 6 should not be taught at the K-9 level. At the very least the definitions for “gender identity” and “gender non-conforming” should state “sex determined at birth” NOT assigned. The determination of the sex of the person is at genetic (DNA) and at the cellular level, as well as anatomical level. The sex of the person is not a choice, but SCIENCE.
The terminology is not based on or reference any source or legal documents. The terms are inappropriately contrived.
The proposed policy duplicates the principals and policies of Virginia Code, Title 22.1-279.6., school board policies which must include standards to discipline students and protect all students, including to prohibit discrimination, bias and harassment, bullying, intimidation, and many other social behaviors that can negatively affect transgender students. No student should be harassed, bullied or shunned, including children who have gender-identity dysphoria, questions or issues. We must be compassionate and understanding of all people.
The proposed policy wrongfully forces parents and students who do not agree with promoting and encouraging transgender behaviors to comply with pronoun use, bathroom/locker room/overnight room choices of a student or faculty proclaimed. While page 17 states that this should be based on the “consistently asserted gender identity”, the policy discusses in the terminology on page 6 that gender identity that may, on page 6: “Gender expression may change over time and from day-to-day and is not necessarily related to the person’s gender identity.” Also, on page 6, gender-fluid.” These definitions and elsewhere leaves open the consideration that students may change their decisions about their identity from day to day and not be questioned about that decision. Students at this age require parental supervision, and the school has no place to allow any student to use any facility without question, as stated on page 17. This policy opens the door for singling out and punishing or abusing the childhood innocents, values, and morals, violating their privacy, causing potential embarrassment, and disrespect, which is due to those non-transgender students.
If a student, under the uncertainty of the seemingly endless and “fluid” variations of gender-identity, or is confused about fluid transgender demands, they may face punitive action, without faculty notifying parents (page 17). This is unacceptable. This section should be changed to insist on notifying the parents, while appropriately respecting the privacy of all students. The DOE in their model has seemingly forgotten that all children and parents have needs, rights, and respect due of their beliefs, norms, morals, and civil and Constitutional rights.
The DOE has fully neglected to have fair and equal representation among the drafters of this model policy, including conservative transgender and non-transgender faculty, parents, teachers, staff, institutions (e.g. Virginia Catholic Conference), and other faith community (array of religions). Has the DOE forgotten that there is a protection of religious freedom in the Constitution?
The policy violates parents’ right raise their child under threat of school faculty pursuing the removal from the home and parents through Child Protective Services, a child who is exploring their sexuality and transgender behaviors, if the parents disagree with the behavior or try to otherwise influence or discuss their opinion with their child.
This policy should at least not undermine the beliefs and rights of parents to determine how to raise their children. It should be written in a balanced approach that respects the beliefs and rights of the majority as well as those who have gender dysphoria or transgender behavior.
The policy wrongfully requires school faculty to hide a child's transgender and sexual exploration from parents they or the child deem will not be fully accepting. The policy wrongfully prohibits parents from explaining to their child their views or their religious understanding of our human status, for example, that a person’s sex is determined, not “assigned” at the cellular and DNA level as male or female and beliefs about the unity of body and soul, or risk involvement by Child Protective Services and possibly removal of the child from the home. Nowhere does the policy address the viewpoint of transgender behavior being potentially an experimental, defiant behavior, and the possibility that it is not well formed but inappropriately influenced by other students, faculty, or contacts. To reduce a parent’s role to simply accepting the decision of the faculty and a child, under threat of removal, is nothing short of a totalitarian, authoritarian control.
The policy requires schools to punish for harassment students who fail to use preferred transgender pronouns (e.g. hirs, zem, they) that are not formally set or accepted in the English language. The policy should emphasize the use of proper names instead of pronouns. Pronouns in a scholastic environment are male, female and neuter. The complication of endless, unofficial, whimsically determined pronouns is improper, just as incorrect use of grammar is improper. Mandating unaccepted pronouns adds stress to students/children and undermines the innocents and moral upbringing of a vast majority of children.
Prohibiting any gender-specific school events and attire is wrong and hypocritical, given the huge modifications and changes being directed by this policy document to accommodate the transgender community. There are many employers, academia, and other institutions that allow and encourage ubiquitous transgender events and fora: clubs, workshops, bathroom facilities, conferences, workgroups, etc. One can expect the same would happen at schools. Why should there not be events and fora open to all students, while some open to girls, boys, or transgender students, for example, Girl Scout or Boy Scout troop, a girls’ choir, girls cheerleading team?
This policy ultimately is not about discrimination. Rather, it imposes a transgender agenda on our students and school staff. The first page of the policy lists the pro-gay and LGBT organizations that contributed to these policy standards. However, input from religious institutions appears to be completely bypassed, undermining and denying the religious beliefs and rights of a vast number of parents and student children.