September 23, 2023

This week, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s Division of Schooling launched a brand new mannequin coverage relating to how transgender college students needs to be handled in Okay-12 faculties.

The Youngkin administration’s new mannequin schooling coverage relating to transgender youngsters comes 10 months after the discharge of a draft model, which sparked pupil walkouts, was criticized by LGBTQ+ advocates, and drew greater than 77,000 public feedback.

The mannequin insurance policies are of their third iteration in as a few years and roll again former Gov. Ralph Northam’s insurance policies, which required faculties to make use of college students’ most well-liked pronouns and allowed college students to make use of amenities like bogs and locker rooms in line with their gender identities, reasonably than their intercourse assigned at delivery.

These schooling insurance policies don’t instantly have an effect on native faculty divisions, however are as a substitute meant to be fashions for insurance policies particular person districts can undertake. 

The finalized coverage is just like the September model, however a lot of the divisive language has been minimize, together with a scientifically outdated concentrate on “organic intercourse.”

One space the place the finalized coverage differs from the draft model: college students with a prognosis of medical gender dysphoria can request lodging by a college ADA coordinator, and oldsters can choose their kids out of being required to make use of “sex-segregated” amenities.

Driving a lot of the priority over the brand new mannequin insurance policies is the place they mirror the draft proposal,  comparable to permitting faculty workers to maintain mother and father absolutely knowledgeable about their kids’s “nicknames,” pronouns, or components of social transitioning which will happen at college. 

Along with the coverage’s dismissal of scholars’ identities, advocates fear these insurance policies may allow faculties to “out” trans and nonbinary college students to probably unsupportive or abusive mother and father. 

Advocacy group Equality Virginia issued an announcement on Twitter criticizing the insurance policies. Amongst their criticisms are that the insurance policies have been written with out consulting LGBTQ+ advocacy teams or consultants. Equality Virginia additionally criticized the administration for its lack of concentrate on “actual points.”

“This comes on the heels of a scathing 18-month report launched final week by JLARC that detailed how Virginia is underfunding its Okay-12 public faculties at a decrease charge than nationwide and regional averages,” the assertion reads. “As a substitute of addressing the very actual points we now have forward of us, Governor Younkin’s response is to escalate a tradition struggle and drop a coverage that harms youngsters, removes sources for lecturers and ignores the rights of oldsters in Virginia.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian group spearheading the nationwide wave of anti-transgender laws in statehouses, helps the Youngkin administration’s new schooling insurance policies.

Beatrice Stotz, a trans lady, graduated from Fairfax Excessive College this yr and had a hand in organizing her faculty’s walkout after the draft insurance policies got here out in September.

“I prefer to suppose that we not less than despatched a message that the scholars don’t assist this, and that we are going to proceed to battle for the rights of our trans friends at the same time as these insurance policies are carried out,” Stotz mentioned.

Stotz mentioned her expertise in Fairfax County Public Faculties was optimistic because it pertains to her gender id as a result of was supported by her lecturers and college workers — however that have won’t be the identical in different elements of the state, particularly in districts that undertake these insurance policies.

“I’m empathetic to the trans college students who should navigate this more and more unclear and unsure minefield of laws in class,” Stotz mentioned. “, the questions of, ‘Will I be accepted by my mother and father? Will I be accepted by the workers?’ All whereas managing gender dysphoria, coping with mother and father, and all the opposite toils of highschool life.”