Connect with us

Virginia

Miyares: Va. school boards must adhere to new trans, nonbinary student guidelines

Districts in Northern Virginia have defined rules

Published

on

(Bigstock photo)

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares on Thursday said school boards must adhere to the state’s new guidelines for transgender and nonbinary students.

Miyares in a letter to Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin said the guidelines “comply with the Equal Protection Clause, Title IX and the VHRA” (the Virginia Human Rights Act) and “local school boards are required to adopt policies that are consistent with them.”

The Virginia Department of Education last month released the new guidelines.

One section states “schools shall defer to parents to make the best decisions with respect to their children.”

“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,” it reads.

Another section notes “schools shall keep parents informed about their children’s well-being.”

“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 reads. “Parents’ rights are affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court that characterized a parent’s right to raise his or her child as ‘perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this court.’ Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 65 (2000). This requirement is, of course, subject to laws that prohibit disclosure of information to parents in certain circumstances including, for example, Code of Virginia § 22.1-272.1(B) (prohibiting parental contact where student is at imminent risk of suicide related to parental abuse or neglect.)”

The guidelines further state “schools shall serve the needs of all students” and the Virginia Department of Education “is committed to working with school divisions to ensure a positive, safe and nurturing learning environment for all students.” 

“Each student’s individual needs should be taken into consideration by his or her school, and divisions should develop policies that encourage schools to account for these individual needs, with due sensitivity to the needs of other students and the practical requirements of the teaching and learning environment,” reads the guidelines. “Schools should attempt to accommodate students with distinctive needs, including transgender students. A team of appropriate school staff and other caregivers should collaborate with the student’s parents or with an eligible student to identify and implement such reasonable accommodations or modifications (if any), considering the resources and staff available in the school and school divisions, as well as the rights and needs of other students and of school staff.” 

The guidelines further state “single-user bathrooms and facilities should be made available in accessible areas and provided with appropriate signage, indicating accessibility for all students.” 

“To ensure that all students have access to a learning environment in which they feel comfortable and safe, where state or federal law requires schools to permit transgender students to share otherwise sex-segregated facilities (such as bathrooms or locker rooms) with students of the opposite sex, parents should be given the right to opt their child out of using such facilities, and the child should be given access to alternative facilities that promote the child’s privacy and safety,” reads the guidelines. “Eligible students should be given the same right to opt out.”

Arlington County Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools and Prince William County Schools have announced they will not implement the new guidelines. NBC Washington on Thursday reported Miyares’ opinion is “nonbinding.”

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Virginia

Virginia Beach high school students stage walkouts to support transgender rights

City’s school board approved policy to out trans students to parents

Published

on

Transgender flags (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key.)

Students at five Virginia Beach high schools on Friday staged walkouts in support of transgender rights.

The walkout is in response to the Virginia Beach School Board potentially approving policy 5-31, which the Pride Liberation Project says will require schools to out trans students to their parents.

Students have been organizing walkouts across the state since Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin earlier this year announced new guidelines for trans and nonbinary students.

“Students like me aren’t going to be able to talk to our teachers if we’re constantly worried about our school officials calling home to forcibly out us,” AJ, a trans Kellam High School Student, told the Pride Liberation Project.

Continue Reading

Virginia

New campaign challenges Va. guidelines for transgender, nonbinary students

Students4Trans planning rallies, walkouts across the state

Published

on

Students and Pride Liberation Project supporters hold signs supporting transgender rights at Luther Jackson Middle School in Falls Church, Va., during a Fairfax County School Board meeting in 2022. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A group of Virginia students have launched a campaign that challenges the state’s new guidelines for transgender and nonbinary students.

The Pride Liberation Project on Sept. 20 announced the formation of Students4Trans.

Students4Trans held a rally outside the Virginia Department of Education in Richmond on Sept. 22. Another rally will take place during the Virginia Beach School Board meeting on Tuesday.

The Virginia Department of Education in July announced the new guidelines for which Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin asked. The regulations, among other things, require parents to be informed of a student’s name and pronoun change, with the exception of “imminent risk of suicide related to parental abuse or neglect.” 

Arlington County Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools and Prince William County Schools are among the school districts that have refused to implement the guidelines. 

The Spotsylvania County School Board announced last month that students are required to use the bathroom that aligs with their assigned sex, and parents could choose the names and pronouns their children use at school. Two parents in Virginia Beach have filed a lawsuit that seeks to force the city’s school district to implement the new guidelines for transgender and nonbinary students.

Students4Trans has organized a student walkout on Friday to protest the Spotsylvania County School Board’s new policies.

Michael K. Lavers contributed to this story.

Continue Reading

Virginia

Lawsuit seeks to force Virginia Beach schools to implement state guidelines for trans, nonbinary students

Va. Department of Education released new regulations in July

Published

on

(Bigstock photo)

Two parents in Virginia Beach have filed a lawsuit that seeks to force the city’s school district to implement the state’s new guidelines for transgender and nonbinary students.

NBC Washington on Friday reported Cooper and Kirk, a D.C.-based law firm, filed the lawsuit in Virginia Beach Circuit Court.

The Virginia Department of Education in July announced the new guidelines for which Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin asked. Arlington County Public Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools and Prince William County Schools are among the school districts that have refused to implement them. 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular