New School Board Policies in 2021
Your local school board will be writing new policies for K-12, to be in effect for the 2021-2022 school year. Every school board must comply with the Model Policies recently released by the Virginia Department of Education (VDoE) titled:
Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools
Our representatives in the General Assembly (GA) face difficult decisions. That’s their job- get all the facts, hear the experts, listen to citizens. Serious topics require transparency - let the citizens hear and participate in the decision-making process.
In the 2020 session, the GA turned one of these serious decisions over to the VDoE without any guidance or oversight. In creating new law through SB 161 and HB 145, the GA decided local school boards must create new policies and procedures based entirely on Model Policies to be created by the VDoE.
Giving unlimited power to the VDoE, our GA representatives
- offered no guidance.
- offered no input.
- offered no information.
- did not ask to review the Model Policy before its release.
Our representatives had no idea what would be written in the Model Policies but gave full power to the VDoE.
One gentleman addressed the House Education Committee with a warning:
Our representatives gave the VDoE this power with no oversight, no review of the Model Policies.
There was no requirement to seek input from parents, local school boards, or school superintendents.
I hope your school board will allow public comment and input as the policies are developed, but legally the school board has little discretion. The policies enacted by your school board MUST follow the Model Policies. Required compliance by the local school board was made very clear in the House of Delegate’s Education Committee hearing.
Apparently realizing parents and school boards will be disturbed by having no voice in these decisions, VDoE has made the Model Policies public in an online Town Hall. In fact, the public is allowed to offer comments from January 4 through February 3, 2021. However, it is clear the comments will no impact on the Model Policy, which goes into effect on February 4, 2021.
No time has been allowed by the VDoE to consider the comments or revise the policies.
I think everyone would agree Virginia needs to have this difficult discussion about transgender students, to formulate policies and procedures. It would be unwise to wait until an issue arises, forcing decisions based on emotional reactions instead of factual information.
Who should have been included in the discussion?
Who should have made the decisions?
Should the VDoE have been given the power to develop Model Policies for Transgender Students without consideration of input by parents, schools board members, or school superintendents?
Should the GA have given the VDoE unlimited power to create and enforce these Model Policies with no oversight?
The VDoE is accountable to the GA but the GA has failed to perform oversight. Facing a difficult discussion, our representatives chose to abdicate responsibility instead of delegate. I am a candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 85th District. When I am your representative, I will insist the GA take responsibility for the power entrusted by the citizens of Virginia, and carefully delegate with oversight and accountability.
Posted on 29 Dec 2020, 19:45 - Category: General Assembly
Connect With Us