Virginia will bar students from accepting transgender students

In a major rollback to LGBTQ rights, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) administration will require and make it more difficult for transgender students in Virginia to have access to school facilities and programs that match the gender they were assigned at birth Encourage students to change their gender names and genders at school.

Under new “model policy“For the treatment of transgender students released Friday night, the Department of Education is requiring families to file legal papers to give their children the right to change names and genders at school. The guidelines also say teachers cannot be compelled to label transgender students by name and gender if it violates “their constitutionally protected” rights to free speech.

And the guidelines say schools “cannot encourage or direct teachers to hide material information about a student from the student’s parents, including gender information,” raising the prospect that teachers could be forced to target transgender students at their schools to come out to parents.

School districts must adopt the new state guidelines, or “broader guidelines,” after a 30-day comment period beginning Sept. 26, the Department of Education said. The board of education does not have to vote to pass the guidelines.

“These 2022 Model Guidelines reflect the Department’s confidence in parents to exercise prudently their fundamental right under the Fourteenth Amendment and the Virginia Constitution to direct the upbringing, education and control of their children,” he said guidelines Condition. “This primary role of parents is well established and undisputed. Parent empowerment is essential to improving outcomes for children.”

The model guidelines reverse guidelines released by Gov. Ralph Northam’s (D) administration in 2021. These guidelines require transgender students to have access to gender-appropriate bathrooms, locker rooms, and locker rooms, require schools to allow students to participate in gender-appropriate sports and programs, and require school districts and teachers accept students’ gender and use pronouns and identities without question.

In their own guidelines, Youngkin administration officials wrote that Northam’s guidance seeks “cultural and social transformation in schools” and “disregards the rights of parents.” The Youngkin guidelines state that Northam-era politics are dead: they “have no further force or effect.”

The Northam policies have been updated pursuant to a Law 2020, proposed by Democratic lawmakers who asked the Virginia Department of Education to develop model policies—and later required all school districts to adopt them—to protect transgender students. The law does not define the specific nature of these policies, but says they should “address common issues related to transgender students in accordance with evidence-based best practices” and that they should be designed to prevent bullying and harassment of transgender students will.

But — in a move likely to pose legal challenges — the Youngkin administration has used the same law to issue its own version of the Department of Education’s guidelines. The 20-page document, released on Friday, says it will be issued “as required” under the 2020 legislation.

The Youngkin administration is also attempting to recapture the period of public scrutiny that Northam-era rules have been subjected to. As is customary, these guidelines have been posted online for weeks for the public to share their reactions.

Friday’s document says Youngkin’s policies were developed by considering “over 9,000 comments received during the public comment period” for the Northam-era policies.

“The 2022 model policy released today fulfills the governor’s commitment to uphold the rights of parents and to uphold the dignity and respect of all public school students,” Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter said in a written statement. “It is not within the purview of any school or government to impose certain ideological beliefs on all students.”

The response from Democratic lawmakers was swift.

“These new policies are cruel and not at all evidence-based,” tweeted Del. Marcus Simon who was a co-sponsor of the Northam era law. “If these policies come into effect, they will harm children in Virginia. Stop bullying kids to earn political points.”

Allies of the governor praised the proposal. “Many Thanks @GovernorVA for fixing one of the most overblown and abusive uses of a ‘model policy’ I’ve seen.” tweeted GOP Del. Glen Davis. “This new standard ensures that all students have the right to attend school in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and bullying.

Laura Vozzella contributed to this report.

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