The national controversy continues over treatment of students who say they would like to be considered a member of the opposite sex, or who are "transgender." And there are questions as to what rights a parent has to direct that treatment.
In Virginia, at the Virginia General Assembly's instruction in 2020, state schools are now implementing policies to require certain treatment of boys who wish to be referred to as girls, and vice versa.
There's a brewing debate as to whether the law allows or, perhaps even requires schools to keep a student's wishes secret from his parents. There is also controversy over some schools taking steps to take over the lead and treat a child in a way that's contrary to a parent's or guardian's direction.
According to Virginia legislation, school staff are required to refer to a student by his chosen name and by whatever gender he wishes to be called.
What happens when parents want their son or daughter to be referred to by their actual gender?
The state legislation is not specific, but indicates it is the school's job to "address the student's emotional needs" and that those "needs" should "be affirmed at school."
Some parents, as well as critics of the idea that children can change their gender, argue the school does not have the right to assume the role of parenting or override parental judgement on their own child's needs. They also say that social advocates in the school system may confuse or mentally harm children by leading or encouraging them to question their identity, as if their gender can be chosen.
According to Loudoun County Public Schools in Northern Virginia, the School Board has made "minor amendments" to a policies concerning the "rights of transgender and gender-expansive students" and will be releasing those to the public in the near future.
The controversies continue as people also debate whether boys and men should be allowed to compete on girls' or women's sports teams.
Read more information below, as provided by Loudoun County Public Schools.
Read the final Policy 8040.
Read Regulation 8040.
From the regulation, Section B: Student Identification - Names and Pronouns.
Transgender and gender-expansive students have the right to affirming learning environments. School staff shall, at the request of a student or parent/legal guardian, use a student’s chosen name and gender pronouns. However, in the situation when a parent/legal guardian of a minor student does not agree with a student’s request to use their chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their consistently asserted gender identity, staff will discuss and may develop an alternative that respects both the student and the parent/legal guardian. This process will require consideration of solutions to address the student’s emotional needs to be affirmed at school as well as the goal of assisting the family in developing solutions in their student’s best interest.”
From the regulation, Section C: Student Privacy and Confidentiality.
“Staff shall follow and adhere to legal standards of confidentiality relating to information about a student’s gender identity, transgender status, legal name, or sex assigned at birth. Staff must support student privacy and safety and not disclose a student’s gender identity or transgender status to other students or other parents. A student’s gender identity or transgender status should not be shared without the student’s consent, even internally among school personnel except to those with a legitimate educational interest or need to know.”