VDOE receives thousands of comments already on changes to transgender student

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – Thousands of comments are coming in on plans to revise the Virginia Department of Education guidelines for transgender students.

Opinions online range, with a heavy majority opposed to any changes. One commenter said, “This policy change will kill children.” Another saying, “Parents need to educate their children before school.”

“The governor’s policy violates the spirit if not the law,” said State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, (D) 9th District.

State Senator Jennifer McClellan helped create the policy that’s still in place for now.

“The policies were designed to make sure we were balancing the child’s privacy, their ability to trust their teacher, their ability to have a safe space in school and the ability to communicate with parents. And the governor’s policy puts that balance in jeopardy,” said State Sen. McClellan.

Among the proposed changes in the 20-page document: schools can only recognize a transgender student’s gender if their parent has requested it in writing. Otherwise, teachers cannot refer to students by different names or pronouns. The policy also says that a parent must know if a child sees a counselor for gender-related issues. A student’s identity also cannot be changed on school records without a legal document from parents.

“Parents want input in their child’s education,” said State Sen. Amanda Chase, (R) 11th District.

State republicans say the change is about empowering parents, a campaign promise from Governor Glenn Youngkin.

“We don’t want children to be bullied, but we also want them to be able to use the restroom and feel safe and not be afraid whether they’re using the restroom or they’re using the locker room,” said State Sen. Chase.

The comment period closes at 11:59 PM on October 26. Click here for the comment page.

After the comment period closes, staff will make any edits and present it to the state superintendent, who will have final approval.

News Read More: VDOE receives thousands of comments already on changes to transgender student

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