Virginia delays implementing transgender policy for all K-12 schools after thousands of parents say ‘no’
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February 10, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Thousands of concerned Virginia parents managed to stall the implementation of a government-mandated transgender policy in all K-12 schools that would allow boys who claim to be girls to enter girls’ bathrooms, dressing rooms, and changing areas.
Slated to take effect on Feb. 4, the mandates were sent back for review for another 30 days after more than 9,000 Virginians commented on them at a state-run public comment site where 2-to-1 they opposed the policies.
“More than 9,000 Virginians had made their voices heard on the state-run public comment site for this policy," said Victoria Cobb, president of The Family Foundation of Virginia. “Those comments reflected that the majority of Virginians were speaking 2-1 against it. State law is requiring every single, K-12 public school to adopt measures that align with this transgender policy that — in one fell swoop — erases basic parental rights and protections for the bodily privacy and safety rights of even our youngest students."
Titled the “Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools,” the policies would bring about the following changes in schools:
Allow students to use “restrooms, locker rooms, and changing facilities” that correspond to their “consistently asserted gender identity,” regardless of biological sex.
Permit any student, male or female, to participate in “any school program, event, or activity, including extra-curricular activities that are segregated by gender.”
Bar school staff from questioning boys who claim to be female when they enter the girls’ restroom. “School staff should not confront students about their gender identity upon entry into the restroom.”— Article continues below Petition —Show Petition Text0 have signed the petition.Let's get to 1!Thank you for signing this petition!Hide Petition Text
Subject teachers to disciplinary measures who fail to use a student’s preferred pronouns. “A school employee’s intentional and persistent refusal to respect a student’s asserted name and pronoun is considered discriminatory.”
Allow school staff to help a student explore and make decisions regarding gender expression while at school while keeping it secret from parents. “School divisions will need to consider the health and safety of the student in situations where students may not want their parents to know about their transgender status. (…) There are no regulations requiring school staff to notify a parent or guardian of a student’s request to affirm their gender identity.”
The Family Foundation of Virginia called the policies “troubling” and “unworkable” since they would “force all students, faculty and administrators to comply with an empirically false view of sex and gender, even if it directly conflicts with their own fundamental beliefs.”
Parents who objected to the policies made their positions clear on the state-run public comment site.
“Parents have the right to know if the schools are using different pronouns for their children and also encouraging them to change genders,” wrote one parent.
“Allowing students to decide their own locker room, change gender identities on any given day, and do all of this without any proof beyond their own words is folly,” wrote another. “We do not let students choose things like their bedtime, whether or not they go to school, if they finish their homework, and countless other things, yet we are willing to let them determine not just their own identity, but how the entire school is run based on the day?”
Some parents expressed outrage over how the policy would affect their daughters’ development.
“I have a teenage daughter and cannot imagine what she will have to process in being required to strip down in a locker room with a male, or her seeing a male strip down in front of her,” wrote one parent. “Whether people identify as the opposite sex or not, the body parts still matter and forcing opposite sex to be together and seen inappropriately in this way with no protection for either party, is simply a chaotic and traumatic encounter waiting to happen.”
The parent noted that the policy “leaves room for those who are opposite sex, who do not identify as opposite sex, but have bad intentions, to enter into bathrooms and locker rooms, for the ‘fun’ of it -- and the hands of authority are bound and can do nothing to protect the very children we are supposed to care for.”
Another parent with daughters called the policy “extremely detrimental to girls.”
“As a mom to two girls, I strongly oppose the transgender policy being presented. Accepting this policy will be extremely detrimental to girls and their privacy,” she wrote. “Subjecting them to sharing locker rooms, bathrooms, and rooms for overnight stays is an invasion of their rights as females. I am trying to raise strong, independent women and by allowing boys to participate in girls’ sports, you are putting girls at a disadvantage.”
Sarah Via, a mother of students in the Hanover area who has personal experience with her daughter losing the right to privacy at school, told The Family Foundation of Virginia last week that the policy takes “choice” away from women.
“My daughter does attend public schools, and she's currently in a state where her body is changing and she is maturing into a young woman and, like most girls, she wants to be modest and maintain that modesty. She also wants to choose when a biological male can see her body. Why is it ok for ... school administrators to take this choice away from her?" she said.
Josh Hetzler, legislative counsel for The Family Foundation's Founding Freedoms Law Center, believes that the policy violates state regulations and laws and could open a floodgate of litigation for schools across the state.
Hetzler said in a Feb. 4 video that Virginia’s Parental Rights Statue makes it clear that a parent “has a fundamental right to make decisions concerning the upbringing, the education, and care of the parent’s child.”
“We've seen throughout these policies how that is very much violated,” he said.
Hetzler said that if the state can’t remedy the concerns during the 30-day review process that the Founding Freedoms Law Center has brought forward then there will be litigation.