Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) Department of Education has replaced the Democrat-passed school transgender policy with one based on parents’ rights.
While the prior policies, passed under former Gov. Ralph Northam (D), allowed school districts to keep a student’s professed transgender identity secret from parents as well as refer to that student by “preferred pronouns” and a different name — aspects of beginning a “social transition” — the Youngkin administration’s new policies require written parental consent for a school to start such a process.
“The 2021 Model Policies promoted a specific viewpoint aimed at achieving cultural and social transformation in schools,” the new policies state. “The 2021 Model Policies also disregarded the rights of parents and ignored other legal and constitutional principles that significantly impact how schools educate students, including transgender students.”
New policies also ensure that Northam-era policies “shall have no further force and effect.”
The 2021 policies encouraged schools to remove “gender-based practices” like having homecoming kings and queens and father-daughter dances, as well as promoting the creation of LGBTQ-oriented clubs and the abilities for students to share the same restrooms, locker rooms, and bedrooms with other students of the opposite sex.
As Breitbart News reported, left-wing school districts in Virginia were taking it upon themselves to push the limit of the radicalism already present in the Northam policies with wording that was flippant toward parental rights.
“In some cases, gender-expansive students may not want their parents to know about their gender-expansive or transitioning status,” the “Privacy and Confidentiality” section of the Albemarle County proposed policy read. “These situations must be addressed on a case-by-case basis and will require schools to balance the goal of supporting the student with the requirement that parents be kept informed about their children.”
The Albemarle policy focused much on the “social transition” of “gender-expansive youth” and couched every detail of how to move forward in language that entirely cut out parents from the process.
For the new policies, however, parental consent is paramount.
“Parents have the right to make decisions with respect to their children: Policies shall be drafted to safeguard parents’ rights with respect to their child, and to facilitate the exercise of those rights,” the “guiding principles” section states.
It also states that “Parents have the right to instill in and nurture values and beliefs for their own children” and that “schools shall defer to parents to make the best decisions with respect to their children.”
The policy further reads:
Parents are in the best position to work with their children … to determine (a) what names, nicknames, and/or pronouns, if any, shall be used for their child by teachers and school staff while their child is at school, (b) whether their child engages in any counseling or social transition at school that encourages a gender that differs from their child’s sex, or (c) whether their child expresses a gender that differs with their child’s sex while at school.
“PDE has been overwhelmed by tips from across the country on gender issues in the classroom, which underscores that this issue is a major flashpoint for families from coast to coast,” Parent Defending Education President Nicole Neily said in a statement. “Polling consistently shows that when it comes to the topic of gender in schools, parents worry about fairness, safety, and the preservation of parental rights – and that these concerns transcend both racial and political lines. Today, Virginia has shown that it is listening to parents through its new proposed guidelines, and we are grateful for their responsiveness.”
Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.