Virginia issues new guidelines that roll back transgender student rights
Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration on Friday night released policies that roll back LGBTQ students’ rights in Virginia schools.
The “2022 Model Policies” will require that students use facilities and programs that “match the sex they were assigned at birth,” and require parental permission to change their names and genders at school.
The Virginia Department of Education reviewed the previous “model policies” adopted during former Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration, and alleged that the policies promoted a “specific viewpoint aimed at achieving cultural and social transformation in schools” and disregarded parents’ rights, as well as “legal and constitutional principles.”
“With the publication of these 2022 Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools (the ‘2022 Model Policies’), the Department hereby withdraws the 2021 Model Policies, which shall have no further force and effect,” the Department of Education document said.
One of the hot-button issues involved restrooms, locker rooms and changing facilities that transgender students are allowed to use. The previous 2021 model policies said that transgender students should be allowed to use facilities that matched their gender identities and required that school districts and teachers accept and use students’ gender pronouns and identities.
In the 2022 Model Policies, the word “sex” is defined as biological sex, and the phrase “transgender students” means “a public school student whose parent has requested in writing, due to their child’s persistent and sincere belief that his or her gender differs with his or her sex, that their child be so identified while at school.”
That means that schools are supposed to defer to parents on what names, nicknames and pronouns teachers and staff should use when referring to the student; whether the student can get counseling; or whether the student expresses a different gender at school.