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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1/4/21  10:27 am
Commenter: Olivia Johnson

Parent of a trans elementary student in Virginia

I am a parent to trans student in Fairfax County. My child is 10 years old and very clear on their identity. They receive unconditional support and acceptance at home, and, for the most part, their identity has been respected by school administration, fellow students, and parents in the community. I wish this would be the case for all trans students in the state of Virginia.

Even with the support and acceptance, there have still been struggles. My child doesn't like to make waves or stand out. Bathroom accomodations have been a troubling subject for them. Being so young, I believe they were the first trans student the elementary school had had. While asserting that my child could use whatever bathroom they wanted, they were STRONGLY encouraged to use staff bathrooms. While my child didn't complain about this, they also never felt comfortable using the bathroom at school. They would get off the bus and run home to use the toilet. It was a somewhat small thing. My child didn't complain. But when I put myself in their shoes, I can't imagine that anyone can do their best learning when they can't take care of basic bodily needs. I support this guidance because I think every school will be aware of best practices, whether they've had out trans students or not. These "small" changes will have a lasting and positive impact on trans students. They will help cis students as well, by seeing a model of acceptance.

When my student changed their name and pronouns, the school did clued into the changes right away. My child expected this, and I can only imagine how painful and erasing it would be for students who need to fight for their name and pronouns to be adopted. 

I want my student to be able to participate in all the enriching activities available to other students. I support the guidance regarding overnight trips, clubs, sports, and all the activities that all students should have access to. 

Affirming children's identities, affirming the diversity within Virginia schools, is beneficial to the entire community. This guidance sends a clear message to all students: you belong! You are valid! You can expect respect and affirmation. 

I'm also a parent to cis students in the county. For their sake, I want them to see their sibling treated with respect. I want them to enter the world understanding and accepting people different from them. So many of these lessons are learned in the early years in school. I want all Virginia schools to be places of equality and empowerment, and these guidelines do a wonderful job of ensuring that.

CommentID: 87926