Proposed Virginia school policy would radically advance LGBT agenda, undermine parents
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RICHMOND, Virginia, January 15, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has released a draft proposal of a new policy to be forced upon all public schools, promoting radical transgender ideology, and undermining the role of parents in the raising of their children.
The VDOE partnered with a number of pro-homosexuality and pro-transgenderism organizations, including Side by Side, the Shenandoah LGBTQ Center, Equality Virginia and He She Ze & We. The aim of the document is to “present model policies for use during the local school board’s policy development process” - policies which would ensure that “transgender students, have safe, supportive, and inclusive school environments.”
While the document has not yet become mandatory for schools across the state, the public consultation period ends on February 3.
Several policies are presented which are of concern to pro-life and pro-family advocates, with even the definitions used being problematic. The term gender identity is described very loosely as “[a] person’s internal sense of their own identity as a boy/man, girl/woman, something in between, or outside the male/female binary. Gender identity is an innate part of a person’s identity and can be the same or different from the sex assigned at birth.”
No evidence is needed to support a student identifying as a different gender, as is even stipulated in the document. Schools are told to “accept a student’s assertion of their gender identity without requiring any particular substantiating evidence, including diagnosis, treatment, or legal documents.” All that is necessary to be “considered transgender” is to “consistently” claim to be “a gender identity different from the sex assigned at birth.”
The proposal states that “[t]his should involve more than a casual declaration of gender identity,” but adds that there is no “required minimum duration of expressed gender identity.” Once a student decides upon a “name and/or pronoun affirming their gender identity, school staff should abide by the student’s wishes as to how to address the student.”
“Some examples of commonly used pronouns include she/her/hers, he/him/his as well as gender-neutral pronouns such as they/them/their and ze/hir/hirs.”
A school’s “restrooms and locker rooms” become accessible to all. Students are to be “allowed to use the facility that corresponds to their consistently asserted gender identity,” and staff are prohibited from questioning them, since it “can be emotionally harmful for a transgender student to be questioned regarding the use of restrooms and facilities.”
Attack on role of parents
Staff and children are encouraged to actively hide information from the student’s parents. “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 policy states.
Further than this, schools are to assist students when they “may not want their parents to know about their transgender status,” and thus there are “no regulations requiring school staff to notify a parent or guardian of a student’s request to affirm their gender identity, and school staff should work with students to help them share the information with their family when they are ready to do so.”
In fact, a student’s “transgender status” is treated as “particularly sensitive information,” which parents are deemed to have less of a right to know than officials in the school: “[S]chool staff should treat a student’s transgender status as being particularly sensitive information that should not be shared even internally among school personnel except to those with a legitimate educational interest or need to know.”
If the family does not approve of a student identifying as a different gender, a climate of opposition is swiftly established, wherein schools have to “determine whether to respect the student’s request” or to respect the parents’ wishes. The staff are further ordered to “support the safety and welfare of transgender students when their families are not affirming,” consequently alienating the families from the children.
The rejection of the parental and family rights in the matter is taken further, as school staff are instructed to “report” any “concerns to Child Protective Services,” if any staff member even “suspects or becomes aware that a student is being abused, neglected, or at risk of abuse or neglect by their parent due to their transgender identity.”
Neutral dress codes and staff indoctrination
Among the many other issues in the proposal is the promotion of a “gender-neutral” dress code, whereby “[t]ransgender students have the right to dress in a manner consistent with their gender identity or gender expression.” This entails that students may dress in a manner “free from gender expectations, as long as the student’s attire complies with the school’s dress code.”
However, the goal of a dress code is not modesty, but is “to ensure the health and safety of students and not contribute to a hostile or intimidating atmosphere for any student.”
Staff are also to be trained in LGBT ideology, to understand and correctly teach it to their pupils. The draft states that “professional development should include LGBTQ+ cultural competency training.”
Schools are also told to “support the formation” of LGBT-specific clubs.
Public consultation period
The draft proposals are currently in a public consultation period, running from January 4 through February 3, for parents to raise any concerns about the document.
The Family Foundation (TFF), a pro-life Christian organiziatin based in Virginia, has drawn up a list of the ten most troublesome aspects of the draft proposals to advise people on how to respond to the consultation.
The group has also made a short video regarding the new proposals, in which it warns that “this is one of those historic moments, when we can’t afford to stay silent.”
“This policy goes … into flat-out politicized, sexualized, ideology that at best is irresponsible in a public school setting, and at worst damaging to kids who are still developing. There needs to be hundreds and hundreds of your voices, your comments, flooding into this right now.”
Contact information to register concerns about the new policies:
Click on this link to access the Virginia Town Hall website, and then click ‘Enter a comment.’