Virginia’s proposed Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students states that students who repeatedly address a transgender student with the wrong pronoun will be subject to “corrective action” for violating federal and state laws.
Martin Mawyer, President
A quick thumb through Virginia’s proposed transgender school policies will undoubtedly leave many parents, students, educators and staff wondering which abuse of their constitutional rights (as well as their common-sense thinking) is the most outrageous.
Is it that students can barge willy-nilly into bathrooms or locker rooms of the biologically opposite sex without having to prove (or even state) their “gender identity?”
Or is it that teachers and staff are forbidden from even asking students about their preferred gender identity before those students violate the privacy of opposite-sex students?
Perhaps it is the clause that states schools do not have to notify the parents when a child changes “gender identities” or even legal names. (Separate records would be kept: one set for the school and another when talking to noncompliant parents.)
And speaking of noncompliant parents, woe to them if the school learns about doubting the transgender fad. School administrators are encouraged to call in Child Protective Services if they suspect parents, in their non-professional opinion, are inflicting “abuse or neglect” on a transgender child.
Except, what exactly is “abuse”? What is “neglect”? The proposed Model Policies do not say.
Would the refusal of parents to buy their transgender “daughter” a set of girls’ underwear count as “neglect”? What about refusal to pursue hormone treatments? Would their attempts to inform the child about actual, biological gender constitute “abuse”?
In a direct slap at parents who believe biological sex is something to be embraced and celebrated, the policies gets their revenge by recommending the custom of father-daughter dances be eliminated entirely, for everyone. Take that!
Of the 33 acknowledged contributors to the policies document, a grand total of one is listed as a “parent representative.” There also are zero representatives from parental rights groups. But a whole slew of LGBTQ+ groups are listed.
Of particular concern is a policy that will force students to request private dressing and showering areas if they feel uncomfortable undressing in front of the opposite sex.
The message is that it is okay to stigmatize modest students for desiring to protect their privacy, but wrong to differ with students who feel the need to put themselves on intimate display to opposite-sex students.
Remember: A student need NOT declare a gender preference before entering any locker room or restroom, and school staff are NOT permitted to ask.
And exactly what will become of modest students who don’t wish to play a forced role in their peers’ search for sexual identity? Will they be shamed as homophobic? Transphobic? Bigots?
If these policies weren’t troubling enough, the document adds that they will apply to “overnight field trips” as well. What could go wrong there?
If approved, the proposed guidelines will take effect the next school year, 2021-2022. There is time to voice disapproval or approval until Feb. 3, by going here. As of this writing, and not surprisingly, “disapprovals” are pummeling “approvals” by a margin of more than two to one.
The most disturbing part of the proposed Model Policies are clear violations of the constitutional rights of students, educators and staff members. In the recommendations for handling “verbal harassment,” these violations are egregious.
The Model Policies describe “verbal harassment” as “the intentional and persistent use of names and pronouns not consistent” with a student’s preferred “gender identity.”
Such “Verbal harassment” is “prohibited under federal and state laws,” the Model Policies state, though the document fails to provide any footnotes or citations that identify those federal and state laws. Schools are expected to just take their word for it.
The Model Policies state further that “verbal harassment … by either school staff or by other students” is prohibited.
Did you get that? Both school staff AND students are prohibited from “verbal harassment.”
Taken at face value, this means students and teachers could be charged with committing an illegal act under federal and state laws if they repeatedly address a transgender student with a non-preferred pronoun. It’s hard to read the document in any other fashion.
“Any incident or complaint of discrimination, harassment, or bullying shall be given prompt attention, including investigating the incident and taking appropriate corrective action, by the school administrator,” the policy reads.
One would think the First Amendment might have some bearing on that “investigation” and “corrective action.” If a student doesn’t have the right to factually refer to a biological boy as “he” or “him,” then what’s the point of having a Free Speech clause in the Constitution?
Wouldn’t forcing students to use “preferred pronouns” also be an obvious example of “compelled speech,” which also violates the federal Constitution?
The Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette (1943) has been cited as a classic example of the prohibited compelled speech doctrine. In that case, the Court ruled that states cannot force children to stand, salute the flag, or recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
If you aren’t allowed to compel students to recite patriotic speech, then how can they be forced to recite preferred pronouns?
So what will happen to students (and even kindergarten tots) who refuse to obediently address transgender students by their preferred pronouns?
Detention? Suspension? Arrest? If they have truly violated “federal or state laws,” what will stop a school administrator or a prosecutor from throwing the book at them? Will they be charged under both state and federal laws?
Teachers and staff should ask similar questions. They also need to be concerned about an additional proposed guideline that requires them to accept these “policies and procedures” in order to gain or keep employment.
For some teachers and prospective educators, addressing a biological boy or girl with opposite sex pronouns would violate their religious convictions.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen. 1:27)
Not only do the Model Policies present Free Speech and Freedom of Religion legal issues for educators and staff, they also run afoul of Article VI of the federal Constitution, which specifies that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”
If teachers and staff are forced to accept that biological males can be females (and vice-versa) in order to gain or keep employment, then what will stop schools from issuing other religious tests that would clearly violate the beliefs of virtually all Christians, Jews and Muslims?
The slippery slope is plain to see. Will prospective or current educators and staff eventually be interrogated about their beliefs on evolution, homosexual marriage or abortion to keep or gain employment?
The Model Policies, as currently written, send a clear message to non-complying parents, teachers, staff members, administrators and students: DO NOT APPLY TO OR ATTEND VIRGINIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS unless you agree – without question – that human beings can impulsively renounce their biological sex, and unless you are prepared to support them in this deception, to the point of agreeing to use language you know to be false or inaccurate.
Perhaps that is the explicit intent: To purge and cleanse Virginia public schools of anyone who dares to disagree with the LGBTQ+ movement even as they defy God, science, common sense and long-accepted moral values to indulge their sexual whims.