Bloom Campaign Response to VDOE 2022 Model Policy
States Policy is Legally Inconsistent and Constitutionally Questionable
On September 21st, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) released its draft of “2022 Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools,” a complete reversal from the previously approved “2021 Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools” which all public schools in Virginia were supposed to adopt by the 2021-2022 school year.1 If implemented, these standards would intrude upon the personal growth of our students by asserting gender identity as an ideology that must not be expressed in schools.
Education is not limited to the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, but is a lifelong endeavor rooted in nurturing individualism. Our schools play an essential role by helping our students learn to learn and to become self-advocates who know themselves and what they want to achieve. There is no place for policy that tells students who they are or what to think.
The model policy states “The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees religious freedom and prohibits the government from compelling speech that is contrary to an individual’s personal or religious beliefs.”1 Further alleging, “Practices such as compelling others to use preferred pronouns is premised on the ideological belief that gender is a matter of personal choice or subjective experience, not sex.”1 Yet Tinker vs Des Moines (1969) established that students have a right to self-express ideology on school grounds.2 Therefore, this policy instructs school districts to violate a student’s first amendment right to free speech.
Furthermore, the Policy’s exceedingly broad interpretation of Troxel vs Granville (2000), Wisconsin vs Yoder (1972), and Pierce v. Society of Sisters (1925) in support of this denial of children’s rights is not only inconsistent with the court’s rulings on their respective matters (namely visitation rights and school choice) but also has no relevant bearing on the matter of speech in public schools as a result.3,4,5 The State cannot then take up the argument that Bostock vs Clayton County (2020) remains limited in scope to Title VII with no application to Title IX, in contradiction of the 2021 Federal Notice of Interpretation on that case, as well as the Virginia Values Act of 2020 generally.6,7,8
Our campaign is seeking a seat on the Chesapeake School Board to ensure the policies we enact are consistent with state and federal law in pursuit of an education system that puts students first and enables them to be successful by discovering themselves. The 2022 model policy fails to accomplish any of this.
We are calling for all concerned citizens to visit the VDOE Regulatory Town Hall website and demand a complete rejection of these inconsistent and illegal new policies that seek to revoke the rights of students in schools across Virginia. The comment period is open now until October 26th: https://townhall.virginia.gov/L/Comments.cfm?GdocForumID=1953
Authorized by Friends of Blaizen Buckshot Bloom
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