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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  11:00 am
Commenter: Melissa - A VA Resident + Mother

Agree to equal rights but not this suggested implementation

I truly believe more needs to be done than simply have a conversation on inclusion and I understand our schools play such a large, influential role in our children's lives but I simply don't agree to the implementation this policy is suggesting. Our schools are to be a safe haven, a place of inclusion, and an institution for learning - FOR ALL. I don't understand how creating "inclusivity" for one then changes the field for another in a potentially worse scenario. I'm trying to set my fear of the unknown aside to be very neutral here. If my children were Transgender I would certainly want inclusiveness for them but in that I would want other children to feel safe in their environment as well. We can't take from one to give to another and call it equal. Should teachers, students, and communities treat Transgender without prejudice and judgement? Absolutely. Does that mean we allow a born "female" student into designated "male" quarters because she now identifies herself as "male"? I don't believe so, and vice versa. A born "male" student shouldn't be permitted into "female" facilities. I clearly see the conflict here for a Transgender person and where they feel they belong but I can't support the policy of full immersion like this. For clarity - I was born female and I identify as female. Thinking of my own experience of middle school through high school; locker rooms were awkward. For gym, for sports, all the above. The dressing out, showering, changing clothing in front of my "like-bodied" cohort was an awkward experience as it was and the thought of adding in the opposite sex, even if they do mentally identify as female, is a thought that honestly I am not comfortable with. I also don't agree with the inclusion of sports. In theory - yeah, it's a great idea. But in a real world scenario it isn't going to be fair or safe to everyone. Male sports and female sports have been separate for decades for reason and reasons I agree with. So how do we evolve? My suggestion - if it's for bathrooms or gym scenarios, it's providing more private bathrooms for one person use. If you have to label it, put the sign "Bathroom" on it. Male, Female, whoever wants to use it, can use it. If it's environment that needs to be worked on, I believe that's going to come down to the School Board and individual school's Principal to set the culture and expectations to be withheld and the counseling department to assist in support.

I am unsure why and how the focus of our education system came to be solely on the gender, color, and sexual orientation of our children and it honestly baffles me that we have these conversations but I feel that if we are going to focus on the emotional support of our children more, then we need to be emphasizing the expectation of inclusion more with faculty and staff and setting the culture in our schools. A no tolerance policy needs to be withheld and if it is more about physical logistics then build more private restrooms. I understand that all students don't come with a supportive home or involved parents and that school is that safe space of love, nurture, and support for those specific situations. It should remain that way and I understand that is the thought behind a policy such as this but it also feels like we are creating too many loop holes that can create a very unsafe space for other students if not handled properly. I just ask that we think of ALL students when trying to change for one. 

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