The Virginia Department of Education, under the direction of Governor Glenn Youngkin, has announced new Model Policies that sharply curtail the legal rights of transgender students in the state’s public schools and threaten those students’ emotional well-being. The new Model Policies are scheduled to supersede past model policies on October 27, 2022. The Arlington County Democratic Committee opposes the new Model Policies and urges restoration of the Model Policies previously in place, which protected the legal rights and interests of Virginia’s transgender students.
Whereas in 2021 the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) issued Model Policies that support transgender students and honor their legal rights;
Whereas Arlington Public Schools first added gender identity to its non-discrimination policy in 2015 and later adopted implementation procedures and further guidance to support transgender students, all of which are consistent with the 2021 VDOE model policies;
Whereas additional school boards in the state have also adopted practices consistent with the 2021 VDOE model policies, while the rest have faced a requirement that they do so during the current school year;
Whereas, under Governor Youngkin, VDOE has now withdrawn the 2021 Model Policies and proposed substituting new Model Policies that would make it more difficult for transgender students to use their name and gender identity and to access gender-based school facilities consistent with their gender identity;
Whereas the new Model Policies would violate the legal rights of transgender students;
Whereas the new Model Policies would create fear and distress among transgender students;
Whereas the new Model Policies could increase the number of attempted suicides among transgender students, as similar rules have done elsewhere in the country;
Whereas Arlington Public Schools has announced that they will continue to abide by their current policies and procedures, as well as current federal and state law to ensure that transgender students are treated with dignity and respect while having equal access to a quality education;
Whereas the new Model Policies constitute yet another effort by Governor Youngkin to intensify the cultural wars that are dividing our country, all in the service of his own political gain; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, that the Arlington County Democratic Committee opposes adoption by the Virginia Department of Education of the new Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students the Department announced on September 16, 2022;
Resolved further, that the Arlington County Democratic Committee supports the immediate restoration of the Model Policies previously in place, which were withdrawn by the Department of Education on September 16, 2022; and
Resolved further, that the Arlington County Democratic Committee will submit this resolution to the Virginia Department of Education in response to the VDOE’s request for public comment on its new Model Policies.
Passed and Approved on this 5th day of October, 2022 by the Arlington County Democratic Committee.