Gov. Youngkin’s New Model Protects Privacy, Dignity, And Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia announced an overhaul of existing policies for the treatment of transgender-identifying students in K-12 schools with new model policies that emphasize the rights of parents, educators, and students.
More than 300 Virginia members of Independent Women’s Network emailed Governor Youngkin urging him to overturn existing policy, which encouraged schools to hide information from parents.
The revised state guidance respects parental rights and states that “schools shall respect parents’ values and beliefs” and “schools shall defer to parents to make the best decisions with respect to their children.” Under the revised policies, school districts may not compel students and teachers to refer to students in a way that would violate their constitutionally-protected rights. Teacher training materials may not order school staff to hide information from parents about their child, including the child’s gender identity. The policies also state that overnight accommodations for school trips and locker rooms shall be based on sex, which will protect girls’ spaces at school.
Julie Gunlock, director of Independent Women’s Network and a Northern Virginia mother, said, “This is why IWN exists—to help women make positive changes in their communities. We are thrilled that IWN members used our Action Center to send a clear message to the VA Governor that these teacher training policies needed to change. Like IWN, Gov. Youngkin continues to be on the side of parents and children.”
Ginny Gentles, director of Independent Women’s Forum’s Education Freedom Center, added, “Schools should not actively hide information from parents. In Virginia, parents have the right to direct the education, upbringing, and care of their children, and IWN members notified Governor Youngkin that their rights were being violated by state policies. We are relieved that the governor has responded by revising the state policies, and the state is no longer instructing schools to craft secretive Gender Support Plans without parental consent when a child requests a new name, pronouns, and gender identity.”