Virginia will no longer allow students to use facilities marked for the gender they identify with and will necessitate that they file legal documentation if they wish to be called by other pronouns, both of which could inflame the argument over how to handle transgender rights in schools. On Friday, the Virginia Department of Education reversed the state’s transgender policy from the previous year and issued new instructions for schools, including the ones listed above.
The guidelines, known as Model Policies, were released by the administration of Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin. They state that schools must “keep parents fully informed about all matters” related to a child’s health and social and psychological development, and that they may not “encourage or instruct teachers to conceal material information about a student from the student’s parent, including information related to gender.” As stated in the policies, no employee will be forced to address or refer to a student “in any manner” that conflicts with their own morals or religious convictions.
This about-face expands on pledges made by Mr. Youngkin during his run for governor. Macaulay Porter, the governor’s spokeswoman, said that the 2022 model policy issued delivers on the governor’s commitment to safeguarding parental rights and upholding the dignity and respect of all public school kids. Democrats and L.G.B.T.Q. advocates argue that the regulation harms transgender children by requiring teachers to tell parents about their students’ gender identities.
Trans children “deserve to study and thrive in an atmosphere devoid of bullying, intimidation, and fear,” tweeted Mike Mullin, a Democrat in the Maryland House of Delegates, on Friday. That means being welcomed for who they are and encouraged to become. Most notably from their instructors and superiors.
The education department’s action follows a flurry of laws restricting the rights and protections of transgender students during the previous two years in a number of states. The announcement last Friday was notable in part because it reversed measures taken by Mr. Youngkin’s Democratic predecessor, Ralph Northam.