A required minimum 30-day period for the Youngkin administration to review public comment on new draft transgender model policies ended, but the Virginia Department of Education is taking more time to review the 71,298 comments, according to Director of Communications and Constituent Services Charles Pyle.
“The model policies and guidance document has not been finalized and will not be – as stated by Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow – until the department has reviewed all of the comments received during the public comment period,” Pyle told The Virginia Star.
Public comment has ended on the Youngkin administration’s draft transgender model policies, but they won’t go into effect until November 26 at the soonest, and may take longer, according to Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) Director of Communications Charles Pyle. “The department’s timeline for finalizing the guidance and model policies…
Some school districts are already signaling resistance to new draft model policies from the Virginia Department of Education that will repeal current model policies controlling school district transgender policy.
“We want to assure you that Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) will continue its commitment to both implement and develop gender affirming policies for all ACPS students. As a School Board and division, we are concerned with these ‘model policies’ that do not align with our mission, vision and core values to support all students and staff, in particular our core value of ensuring that we provide a welcoming environment for everyone in our school community,” Alexandria City Public Schools said in a letter to students, staff and families.
The Virginia Department of Education posted a new draft of model policies to replace the Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students. The draft policies published Friday include an emphasis on parental rights as a major shift away from a current emphasis on protecting students’ gender identity from people, including family, who may not be understanding.
The first point under the Guiding Principles section of the draft states, “Parents have the right to make decisions with respect to their children: Policies shall be drafted to safeguard parents’ rights with respect to their child, and to facilitate the exercise of those rights.”
The Alliance Defending Freedom is seeking a temporary injunction blocking the Harrisonburg City Public School’s transgender policy from going into effect while the conservative legal group’s lawsuit against the district’s school board goes forward.
In June, a group of HCPS parents and students represented by the ADF sued the district over its policy; the plaintiffs are focused on requirements that staff use preferred pronouns and protect students’ privacy from their own parents.
A group of parents and teachers are suing the Harrisonburg City Public Schools (HCPS) over policies that require teachers to use students’ preferred pronouns and to keep the students’ preference confidential from their family. The plaintiffs are represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has filed several lawsuits against Virginia school districts over transgender- and equity-related policies.
“Parents—not public schools or government officials—have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing, care, and education of their children,” ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Bangert said in a June 4 press release. “Teachers and staff cannot willfully hide kids’ mental health information from their parents, especially as some of the decisions children are making at school have potentially life-altering ramifications. As the clients we represent believe, a teacher’s role is to support, not supplant, the role of the parent.”