Va. Dems seek to rewrite school rules to help transgender students

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Virginia delegates Marcus Simon (l) and Joshua Cole (r)

Emboldened by their takeover of the state General Assembly in the 2019 elections, Virginia Democrats are putting forth legislation that would require the state Department of Education to spend time and resources making new policies affecting transgender students.

Currently disparate policies across the state’s schools have helped to generate lawsuits against school systems as transgenderism becomes a near-obsession nationally, particularly among left-wing politicians and media.

Proposed by Del. Marcus Simon, D-Fairfax, and Delegate-elect Joshua Cole, D-Stafford, the bill requires the model policies to cover non-discrimination laws, bullying and harassment, protecting students’ privacy, sex-based dress codes and identifying students. The policies would have to be developed by the end of this year, the Virginia Mercury reports.

Currently each school creates its own policy, often when parents of transgender students bring it to administrators’ attention, Simon said.

“There’s no manual for folks to turn to to say, ‘Hey, what do I do when I’m confronted with a transgender child in my school or in my classroom?’” he said. “Creating a consistent policy that’s a good resource for teachers and administrators also creates some predictability, stability for families.”

In some cases a student faces one policy in middle school and a different one in high school, said James Parrish, the director of the Virginia Values Coalition.

“This is still a new issue for a lot of people, and it centers around education,” Parrish said. “It’s easier to educate people when you have a best practices policy to point to and say this is what we do, and this is why we do it. And then it doesn’t seem so haphazard or pulled out of the air.”

Individual school boards could adopt “more comprehensive policies” but would need to adopt policies “consistent with” the ones created by the education department by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.

In August, a federal judge ruled that former Gloucester High student Gavin Grimm’s constitutional rights were violated by the school board denying her access to the boys’ restroom. Grimm said she avoided using the bathroom at school and developed health problems as a result.

Grimm was recently elected to the board of the ACLU.

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