Controversial transgender policies for Virginia public schools have been put on hold due to parental opposition.
“… More than 9,000 Virginians had made their voices heard on the state-run public comment site for [these policies],” said Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation of Virginia. “… Those comments reflected that the majority of Virginians were speaking 2-1 against [them].”
The policies, outlined in the document “Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia Public Schools,” are in response to Senate Bill 161, which directed the state’s Department of Education to establish clear standards concerning the treatment of transgender students in public elementary and secondary schools.
The document instructs teachers and other school staff to address transgender students by the “name and pronouns that correspond to their gender identity.”
It also encourages educators to hide a child’s gender identity or transgenderism from his or her parents if they are not supportive of their child’s decision:
“Regardless of the circumstances, the school should support the student’s need for privacy and not disclose a student’s gender identity to other students or parents,” the document reads.
It even suggests that teachers address the student with his or her asserted name and pronouns while at school, but use the student’s legal name and pronouns when communicating with parents or guardians.
“State law is requiring every single K-12 public school to adopt measures that align with [these] transgender [policies] that—in one fell swoop—erase basic parental rights and protections for the bodily privacy and safety rights of even our youngest students,” Cobb said.
She continued: “… Thankfully, our law does say if guidelines are issued and any of the comments that are given during that period actually say that these are unlawful—which these are unlawful, they do violate other state laws—then there has to be a 30-day delay for the Department of Education to respond and, we hope, adjust the policy.”
On Feb. 4, Peter Vlaming, a high school teacher who was fired from Virginia’s West Point High School for not using someone’s preferred pronouns, joined Cobb in a virtual press conference about the transgender policies.
“It would be one thing if the guidance were suggesting true tolerance, asking teachers to respect differing views on gender—but that’s not what this is,” he said. “It’s saying there is only one view on gender and everyone must adopt and advocate that specific view.
“Tolerance is supposed to be a two-way street—and in this case that’s not what is going on,” Vlaming added.
Although Cobb is focused on what’s going on in her home state, she encourages all parents pay attention for possible transgender policies that would affect their children.
“Parents across the country need to stand guard and be a watchful eye for what’s happening in your locality,” she urged.