Virginia Finalizes School Guidance on Transgender Students

This week, Virginia’s Department of Education updated its model policies regarding transgender students.

According to The Washington Post, the new guidance includes requirements for schools to use student names matching the sex on their official record. Teachers and other staff members are forbidden from referring to a student by different names and pronouns unless a parent requests the change in writing. Students are required to use school facilities matching the sex on their record.

The final model policies include many guidelines that were introduced last year, which Townhall covered, with a focus on parents’ rights.

“All children in Virginia deserve to have a parent engaged in their life and to be treated with dignity and respect. The VDOE updated model policies reaffirm my administration’s continued commitment to ensure that every parent is involved in conversations regarding their child’s education, upbringing, and care,” Youngkin said in a statement.

“Public comment, input, and concerns were carefully evaluated and assessed to formulate the updated model policies. The Department of Education has delivered policies that empower parents, prohibit discrimination, create a safe and vibrant learning environment by addressing bullying incidents immediately, and protect the privacy and dignity of all students through bathroom policies, athletic procedures, and student identification measures,” he added.

Nicki Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, praised the policies. 

“Girls deserve the right to feel safe in intimate school spaces like bathrooms and locker rooms,” she wrote. “Thank you for standing up for common sense and parental rights, @GovernorVA!” 

Last year, when the guidance was initially introduced, Youngkin faced backlash from pro-trans supporters. Some schools staged walkouts over the policies and some stated outright that they would not implement the policies.

“We needed to fix a wrong,” Youngkin said in an interview with CNN over the backlash. “The previous administration had had a policy that excluded parents and in fact, particularly didn't require the involvement of parents. And let's be clear, parents have this right and children don't belong to the state, they belong to families.”

In Virginia’s 2021 gubernatorial debate, Youngkin stated that he believed parents should be involved in their children’s education. His opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, said: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools that they should teach.” Youngkin ended up winning.