Martin Mawyer, president
Yesterday, the Virginia Department of Education submitted a revised version of its “Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools.”
Rather than addressing the legal violations raised by Christian Action Network (CAN) and the Founding Freedoms Law Center (FFLC) over parental, student and teacher rights, the revised policy focused more on appeasing the concerns raised by the LGBTQ community.
Those LGBTQ concerns were mainly over definitions of such terms as ‘gender identity’, ‘gender nonconforming,’ ‘cisgender,’ and ‘nonbinary’ students, all of which had little or nothing to do with the treatment of transgender students.
The concerns raised by CAN and FFLC were either totally ignored or addressed with such convoluted and ambiguous language that the revised statements rendered the proposed remedies meaningless.
As an example, CAN objected to the proposed policy that stated boys or girls could enter the bathroom or locker rooms of opposite-sex students without first declaring their sexual identity. A boy, for instance, could shower in a girl’s locker room without having to disclose that he is transgender.
Furthermore, under the proposed policy school staff would be prohibited from asking a student about his or her sexual identity before entering an opposite sex bathroom or locker room.
In addition, the proposed policy would allow students to enter opposite-sex sleeping quarters during out-of-town field trips where, once again, school staff would be prohibited from asking the sexual identity of the student.
To address the glaring and foreseeable disastrous problem of voyeuristic boys showering and sleeping with girls, the revised policies offered to solve the problem by putting the burden on female students to raise an objection.
Here’s the awkward, and effectively meaningless, language added to the Model Policies that supposedly solved this concern.
“Schools should work with a student to address any concern that an asserted gender identity may be for an improper purpose, such as permitting the student to respond with information that supports the request to be treated consistent with their gender identity.”
The revised policy will still (1) allow non-transgender boys to enter female bathrooms, showering facilities, and out-of-town sleeping quarters (2) not require boys to produce any “substantiating evidence” that they are transgender before entering, (3) forbid school staff members from inquiring about a boy’s gender-identity before entering opposite-sex bathrooms or locker rooms.
What has changed is the female student now has the obligation to complain to school staff if she suspects a boy is entering the bathroom, locker room or sleeping quarter for improper purposes. She will then have to give the boy an opportunity to respond to her complaint. The boy could then simply respond by claiming the school has to take his word that he is transgender because school policy also dictates he doesn’t have to produce any “substantiating evidence” that he is transgender.
The ‘solution’ is meaningless and actually targets the female student for having raised the objection in the first place.
Another objection raised by CAN was language in the Model Policies stating that school personnel ‘should’ report parents to Child Protective Services if they suspect a transgender student is suffering from ‘neglect’ or ‘abuse’ at home.
The words ‘neglect’ and ‘abuse’ are not defined in the Model Policies and could be interpreted to mean parents who are not willing to support their child’s transition into becoming transgender.
Rather than clarifying the meaning of ‘neglect’ or ‘abuse,’ the revised policies took an even more hardline approach and now states school personnel MUST (rather than ‘should’) report suspected abuse or neglect cases.
The FFRC raised objections to language in the proposed Model Policies that would have prevented parents from learning that their child requested to change his or her name and gender on school records.
This information “must NEVER be kept from parents…[and] is directly contrary to proper authority and law,” FFRC attorney James Davids posted on Virginia’s public comment forum.
In a feeble, word-gaming statement, the Model Policies now states disclosure of a child’s name or gender change will not be disclosed to “other parents,” supposedly meaning that parents of other children will never learn about the name or gender change of a child that is not in their custody.
But it then adds that schools “shall only disclose” this information “to other school personnel with a legitimate educational interest.” This statement still leaves schools the option of not disclosing a child’s name or gender change to parents who might object.
To be abundantly clear, the revised Model Policies state:
“There are no regulations requiring school staff to notify a parent or guardian of a student’s request to affirm their gender identity, and school staff should work with students to help them share the information with their family when they are ready to do so.”
Other objections raised by CAN of the proposed Model Policies were not addressed in the revised submission.
- Teachers and school staff members can still be denied employment or fired if they disagree with the school’s unbiblical interpretation of gender-identity.
- Students can still be disciplined, or charged with a criminal violation, if they repeatedly refer to a transgender student with an improper pronoun.
- The Model Policy still deliberately targets heterosexual students for discrimination by placing the burden on them to seek private bathroom and showering facilities.