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Community Leaders Praise Model Policies That Put Parents First 

Earlier this week, the Virginia Department of Education released updated Model Policies Ensuring Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools. Community leaders praised the policies for protecting the rights of parents and the safety of children:

“ADF supports Virginia’s new education policies, which help ensure respect for parental rights and protect children’s mental and physical health. Parents are the primary caregivers of their children and are in the best position to know what’s best for their own kids’ education and health care needs,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel, Kate Anderson. “Government officials and school administrators can’t usurp the role of parents in making those critical decisions for their children. As the Promise to America’s Parents explains, parents need accountability, choice, and transparency to be able to direct their children’s upbringing, education, and care. Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s new policies help provide that and also protect girls’ safety and privacy by ensuring they can compete on sex-separated sports teams and use girls’ only locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms. Further, we applaud these policies because they restore a culture of free speech and religious liberty for students and teachers at Virginia’s public schools.”

“Under Governor Youngkin’s leadership, the Commonwealth of Virginia has established itself as a leader in the nationwide parental rights movement. The new proposed model policies build on Virginia’s progress by replacing flawed policies with a new plan to restore parents’ critically important decision-making roles when it comes to their children’s education, upbringing, and health. Other states should look to draft similar policies and promote a culture that both reaffirms parental rights and stands up for the safety and dignity of children,” said Heritage Action’s Vice President of Field Operations, Janae Stracke.

“We commend Governor Youngkin and his Administration for issuing these updated policies, which are a considerable improvement and much needed remediation of the policies put in place by the prior Administration,” said Bishop Burbidge and Bishop Knestout in the Virginia Catholic Conference Statement. “The new policies enhance transparency for parents and restore their primary role in the education, care and health of their children. They affirm and protect the dignity and safety of every student. They also respect the religious liberty and conscience rights of all members of Virginia’s public school community. We urge parents whose children attend Virginia public schools to become familiar with the updated policies, to engage in discussion about them at the local level, and – most importantly – to embrace their critical role in the lives of their children at home and at school.”

“Governor Youngkin’s Model Policies rightly protect parents’ rights to direct the upbringing and care of their children. Unfortunately, this very basic right is under attack in schools across Virginia. Our partner organization, Parents Defending Education, has tracked ten districts in the Commonwealth with policies that explicitly state that schools may not notify parents if and when their child adopts another gender identity at school. With this direction from the Department of Education, we hope these districts revise their policies and make them more inclusive and transparent,” said Parents Defending Education Action.

“We are grateful Governor Glenn Youngkin listened to parents, students, and educators who want clarity, not confusion in our schools,” said State Director of Concerned Women for America of Virginia, Teresa Pregnall. “These policies return our classrooms back to common sense and common educational objectives for the well-being of all students.”

“We’re very thankful and pleased to see Governor Glenn Youngkin has stood by his promise to make sure that these policies uphold important protections for parental rights,” said Vice President of Government Relations for Family Foundation, Todd Gathje.

“I support the 2023 Model Policies on Ensuring Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools, which protect students from activists who want to encourage children to medicalize their insecurities and require school staff to deceive parents. The 2023 Model Policies protect emotionally vulnerable students, respect parents’ rights to be involved in their children’s lives, and free teachers from the burden of having to keep secrets from parents,” said Director of Education Freedom Center at the Independent Women’s Voice, Ginny Gentles.

“The Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) new model policies on transgender students acknowledge this truth while correcting the critical error made by the last Administration: removing the right of parents to be involved in their children’s lives. As a long-time Fairfax County Public School mother of five, I heartily welcome these new policies,” said Fairfax mother, Laura Bryant Hanford.

“The idea that parents should know what their children are learning and be informed about their individual children’s lives is not controversial – it’s common sense,” said senior at James Madison University, Parker Boggs.


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