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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  8:32 pm
Commenter: Katie - A Concerned Parent

Strongly oppose - find another solution

I am concerned at the scope of this action/policy. We need to find a way to encourage and love EVERYONE, and that includes those who are both for and against the sexual identity movement. I'm concerned that these policies take away student privacy, encourage questioning about one's own identity, and prevent a true change of heart.

First, I'm struck by the tone and reach of these policies. They seem very punitive rather than encouraging. When did we stop talking to each other and encouraging mutual respect?  Now it seems we write policies to penalize people for having differences of opinion. We replace teaching each other how to be respectful, courteous and loving with policies that force people to fall in line.  You simply cannot change the heart through overbearing policy.

I'm concerned that this is an attempt to normalize transgender when this situation is not at all normal. Many kids need to work through a period of sexual questioning before they are comfortable in their own bodies. It's part of growing up and maturing. Those who are older and make the choice to transition can certainly make that choice, but this is not something that should be actively encouraged and pushed on to our children. 

I'm concerned about the privacy issues as well. I certainly don't want my children sharing bathrooms with people of the opposite sex just because they claim they identify as the same sex. People (kids) will take advantage of ambiguous gender boundaries, and it will be difficult to discern who's faking it and who is not. I'm in favor of fully transitioned people using the same bathroom as the sex they've transitioned into. That makes sense. But until then, keep bathrooms and sleeping arrangements, etc. separate to protect the privacy of others. 

I feel like you all are doing this to accommodate a few at the cost of the majority of students who identify simply as male/female. Unfortunately those students will end up being shamed for their own identity and penalized for not using all the correct identifying terms. 

In addition, you are undermining the parents' relationship with their children. Parents should be having these conversations with their kids, not the school. The school needs to immediately inform a parent if any student expresses sexual identity questioning or a desire to transition. Perhaps with that notification, the school can help guide parents to resources that would help the discussion, but the parents need to be the main voice to the child here. Not the school. 

This is a VERY slippery slope. I am in favor of finding some solution to ensure that people who feel the need to transition are embraced with love. But I am not in favor of any of these actions, and I fervently oppose adopting this policy.  

Finally, I close by saying that you all need to focus more on teaching our students than this type of initiative. Please do your jobs!

CommentID: 96400