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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2/3/21  11:48 pm
Commenter: Timothy Cotman, Arlington Public Schools

In support of protections for transgender and non-binary students
Good evening,
I am writing to support protections for transgender and non-binary students in Virginia's public schools. All students have the right to learn in a safe place and these protections will help facilitate a positive learning environment for everyone.
I have been an educator for over 25 years and I understand the responsibility we have to ensure that all of our students feel valued and affirmed.  When I worked at the middle school level, I was one of several educators who created and co-sponsored a Gay-Straight Alliance at our school.  I have vivid memories of students who came to the first meeting.  They entered the room with such enthusiasm and expressions of joy that there was a safe space for them to be their authentic selves.  
Students should have that feeling all of the time.  These protections are crucial to this effort.  If we truly believe that all students have the right to learn in a safe place then we must do everything we can to make this a reality.   Otherwise they are just empty words. All means all!
Timothy Cotman, Jr.
Equity and Excellence Coordinator
Wakefield High School
Arlington, Virginia

CommentID: 97134