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Adherence of Virginia School Boards to Gov. Youngkins New Policies on Transgender Students, Asserts Attorney General – The Associated Press



Last Updated on August 27, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

Virginia Governor’s Model Policies for Transgender Students Compliant with Nondiscrimination Laws, Says Attorney General

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin’s new model policies regarding the treatment of transgender students have been declared compliant with federal and state nondiscrimination laws, according to an advisory opinion by the state’s Republican Attorney General, Jason Miyares. The guidelines, which were finalized by the administration last month, touch on several issues related to transgender students but have faced criticism from Democrats and LGBTQ advocates.

While some school boards in Republican-leaning areas have embraced policies consistent with the governor’s guidelines, others in Democratic-leaning areas have expressed their intention to defy them. The Virginia Department of Education lacks the authority to enforce compliance with the model policies, but failure to adopt them may be viewed as a violation of a 2020 state law.

The legal consequences for noncompliant school boards remain uncertain, and a judicial decision would be necessary to determine any specific repercussions. Attorney General Miyares’ opinion emphasizes that the athletics policies, which determine participation based on biological sex, do not conflict with the Virginia Human Rights Act’s prohibition of discrimination based on gender identity.

Additionally, the opinion states that the model policy’s approach to student identification and pronoun use does not discriminate on the basis of sex, as the decision regarding pronoun reference ultimately rests with the student’s parents. The analysis concludes that the model policies do not violate the Equal Protection Clause, Title IX, or the Virginia Human Rights Act, thus making it mandatory for school boards to adopt policies consistent with those developed by the Department.

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Governor Youngkin has reaffirmed his support for the model policies in response to the attorney general’s opinion, emphasizing his commitment to empowering parents in Virginia. However, the advisory opinion by the attorney general is not legally binding on the courts, as clarified by the legal director of the ACLU of Virginia.

This ongoing debate surrounding the treatment of transgender students in Virginia’s schools reflects the state’s differing political ideologies and highlights the challenges faced by policymakers. As the issue continues to evolve, the ultimate resolution may lie in a judicial decision that will provide clarity and set a precedent for future policies related to transgender rights in education.

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Dina J. Miller is an accomplished writer and editor with a passion for business and education. With over a decade of experience in the industry, she has established herself as a leading voice in the MBA community. Her work can be found in a variety of MBA magazines and college publications, where she provides insightful commentary on current trends and issues in the field. Dina's expertise in business and education stems from her extensive academic background. She holds a Master's degree in Business Administration from a top-tier business school, where she excelled in her studies and developed a deep understanding of the complexities of the business world. Her academic achievements have been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including induction into several prestigious academic societies.

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