Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin has, with a mere two words, asserted the rights of parents in the Commonwealth of Virginia. In updating his state’s educational policies, Youngkin changed everything by adding the words “and parents.”
The Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity and Respect for all Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools, published by the Virginia Department of Education, will override the previous version which was applied to all the state’s schools in 2020.
WTVR-TV reported that these policies were applied “per a 2020 Virginia law that requires all districts in the Commonwealth to adopt, at a minimum, the VDOE’s model policies for transgender students.” The rules required that schools “must not question how a student chooses to identify.”
The VDOE under Youngkin said the earlier policies were “aimed at achieving cultural and social transformation in schools.” The Deptartment of Education officials also wrote that the previous policy cast aside the rights of parents and “ignored other legal and constitutional principles.”
They wrote, “The 2021 Model Policies promoted a specific viewpoint aimed at achieving cultural and social transformation in schools. 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. With the publication of these 2022 Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools (the ‘2022 Model Policies’), the Department hereby withdraws the 2021 Model Policies, which shall have no further force and effect.”
The new 2022 policy document outlines three new guiding principles that will give beleaguered parents some long overdue relief, and will utterly enrage the left.
- “Parents have the right to make decisions with respect to their children.
- Schools shall defer to parents to make the best decisions with respect to their children.
- Schools shall keep parents informed about their children’s well-being.”
These new policies place parents at the center of any conversations regarding transgenderism or the transition of their children, correcting a fundamental and deliberate flaw in the previous policy.
The express design of the 2021 policies was the exclusion of parents from the life-altering decisions of their children, decisions which parents have an inherent right and responsibility to shepherd their children through. These policies represented nothing short of the full usurpation of the parental role by state actors.
But in a single document, which directly indicts the previous policy of parental exclusion and promotion of transgender ideology as not merely acceptable but even desirable, it is all undone.
The VDOE lays this bare, “Parents are in the best position to work with their children and, where appropriate, their children’s health care providers 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.”
And they bring it home in style just a paragraph later, with the final determination on who ultimately has the right to make decisions for the children. Not the children themselves, not the schools, but the parents.
“To ensure parents are able to make the best decisions with respect to their child, school personnel shall keep parents fully informed about all matters that may be reasonably expected to be important to a parent, including, and without limitation, matters related to their child’s health and social and psychological development.”
It’s a hard slap in the face to those on the left. And they are not happy.
Glenn Youngkin reverses Virginia policy on pronouns and transgenders in public schools:
“Staff and students cannot be forced to use preferred pronouns and on bathrooms and locker room use, students must use facilities consistent with his or her sex.” pic.twitter.com/kHGjrsrFMY
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) September 17, 2022
Democrat Candidate for the Virginia Assembly Karl Frisch tweeted, “We will not stand silent as Youngkin tramples the rights of LGBTQIA+ students and their families. He’s putting the lives of young Virginians in jeopardy to score political points and he should be ashamed.”
How? By making sure that the students’ parents are aware of what they’re feeling and that the children are getting the care they need?
The old 2021 model, according to The Daily Wire, said that schools should, “eliminate gender-based practices,” as not to leave out “transgender students.” They cited “father-daughter dances” and “homecoming kings and queens,” and instead emphasized the importance of creating gay clubs and allowing “transgender students” to share bunks with children of the opposite biological sex during sleep-over events. They advocated for transgender students to use restrooms of their chosen gender. They ordered teachers to be trained in being “LGBT+ affirming,” all without mentioning parental involvement.
“Nonbinary students, as well as transgender students, may use gendered pronouns like she/her/hers or he/him/his, use gender-neutral pronouns, such as they/them/their or ze/hir/hirs … School divisions should accept a student’s assertion of their gender identity without requiring any particular substantiating evidence,” it said.
“A school employee’s intentional and persistent refusal to respect a student’s name and pronoun is considered discriminatory.”
The previous rules further described how to purposefully conceal a child’s “gender transition” from their parents, adding, “a plan may include addressing the student at school with their name and pronoun consistent with their gender identity while using the legal name and pronoun associated with the sex assigned at birth when communicating with parents.”
The old policy was not “affirming” it was guiding children to a deliberate end. It wasn’t “inclusive” but rather exclusive, excluding not only parents but also the traditional role of parents in their children’s lives and a factual understanding of biological reality.
As the new model declares, the 2021 policies weren’t in fact about education at all, they were always about “achieving cultural and social transformation.” And a course correction was long overdue.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.