IWN Inspired 1,470 Comments Supporting Virginia’s K-12 Policies - Independent Women's Network
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IWN Inspired 1,470 Comments Supporting Virginia’s K-12 Policies

In late September, Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia announced revisions to existing policies for the treatment of transgender-identifying students in K-12 schools. The new model policies emphasize the rights of parents, educators, and students in contrast to previous administration’s policies, which encouraged schools to hide information from parents. 

The revised state guidance 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. 

IWN expressed support for the revised policies, stating:

“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.” 

Recognizing that trans activists would flood the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall with vitriolic and untrue comments about proposed policies during the state’s 30-day comment period, IWN launched an Action Center that truthfully described the policies and encouraged members to submit supportive comments. The drive was a success with 1,470 people submitting comments through the IWN portal. Unique comments from Virginia residents included:

  • “Schools and faculty should work together with parents if a student is experiencing gender identity confusion. Ironically, my children’s schools send me automated messages via email, text, AND phone message if my child is even late to a class, so it seems outrageous that they would not notify me if one of my children would like to identify as a different gender! Schools and faculty are in a child’s life for a brief moment, and they are neither trained nor informed to be involved with these types of personal, mental health, and emotional well-being issues. Nor is a school vested in a child as much as a parent is.” Sara, Springfield
  • “These 2021 model policies are dangerous! They exacerbate gender identity confusion in our children and sadly have resulted in increased suicide of our precious children. Please look into the recent suicide of a Lake Braddock high school (FCPS) student who committed suicide 2 weeks ago. Until the suicide, the family had no idea that their son was being embraced as a trans female at the school. Living two identities (one at school and one at home) is not healthy, and the parents should have been informed by the school!” Katherine, Vienna
  • “Schools should not interfere with parental rights. Schools are not to replace parents. This feels like another excuse for the State to take ownership of children.” Alexandra, Falls Church
  • “I can’t believe I actually have to write a letter about this. Schools should never secretly socially transition students and keep the child’s new name, pronouns and gender identities from parents.” Jennifer, Alexandria

Comments poured in from around the country, as well, including:

  • “Let us follow the example of other countries who have begun to take a more cautious approach to transitioning children because of the damage a rush to transition can do. We do not yet have all of the answers and parents need to be involved to help make the best possible decisions for their children’s future well-being and quality of life.” Michele, Utah
  • “Socially transitioning students is bad enough; doing it without parents’ knowledge is egregiously wrong.” Suzy, New York

The Virginia Department of Education will spend 30 days reviewing the 70,000 comments that were submitted by the public. The final model policies likely will go into effect at the end of November.

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