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Virginia AG confirms validity of Youngkin's new school policy, which upholds parental rights and curbs gender ideology: 'It's not just common sense, it's the law'

  Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares confirmed in a   Wednesday opinion   the legitimacy and constitutionality of the model policies ad...

 Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares confirmed in a Wednesday opinion the legitimacy and constitutionality of the model policies advanced by the Virginia Department of Education under Gov. Glenn Youngkin, which curb gender ideology and keep students' sports and bathrooms sex-segregated.

Miyares indicated the parental rights-affirming policies comply with the Virginia Human Rights Act, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment, and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, making clear that "school boards across the Commonwealth should support and implement them. It's not just common sense, it's the law." 

While LGBT activists and school board officials have taken issue with the policies, Miyares indicated that "every single school district has to reckon with" the prospect that their failure to fall in line with the law will open them up to legal action by parents.

The model policies

The VDOE's "Model Policies on Ensuring Privacy, Dignity and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia's Public Schools" highlights at the outset the pre-eminence of parental rights, particularly as it pertains to children and their education. 

The VDOE noted that the activist policies under the previous administration "disregarded the rights of parents and ignored other legal and constitutional principles that significantly impact how schools educate students," so it has nullified them and started again. 

This time around, the department defers to parents "to make the best decisions with respect to their children" and guarantees them they will remained informed about their children's well-being "without limitation."

This way, children will not needlessly suffer mental illnesses such as gender dysphoria or undergo transitioning behind their parents' backs.

According to the new model policies:

  • School personnel will refer to each student only by the name that appears in their student record or a nickname "commonly associated" with their official name;
  • School personnel "shall refer to each student using only the pronouns appropriate to the sex appearing in the student's official record - that is, male pronouns for a student whose sex is male, and female pronouns for a student whose sex is female";
  • Biologically incongruous pronouns and a different name are to be used only if a student's parents provide written instructions to that effect;
  • School personnel and students alike cannot be compelled to refer to other students "in any manner that would violate their constitutionally protected rights";
  • Biological sex, not so-called "gender identity," will be the determining factor for what sex-segregated school program, event, or activity a student participates in, including athletic activities;
  • Where federal law requires transvestites to share in otherwise sex-segregated facilities with students of the opposite sex, parents have the right to opt their children out of using such facilities and shall be provided alternatives; and
  • Locker rooms, bathrooms, and travel overnight accommodations will also be based on sex.

Parental rights-affirming care

Having detailed the various ways the policies conform to federal and state laws, Miyares stated his opinion "confirms what the overwhelming number of Virginians already know[:] parents have a fundamental right to the care, upbringing, and education of their children. Parents, not government, are in he best position to work with their children on important life decisions."

"No parent signs up to co-parent with the government," continued Miyares.

Following the AG's affirmation, Youngkin wrote on X, "In Virginia, we will always empower parents and always stand up for the privacy, dignity, and respect of all students in the commonwealth."

Last month, the governor stated these policies will "empower parents, prohibit discrimination, create a safe and vibrant learning environment by addressing bullying incidents immediately, and protect the privacy and dignity of all students through bathroom policies, athletic procedures, and student identification measures."

According to the Virginia Mercury, Spotsylvania County Public Schools became Virginia's first school district to adopt the policies. Roanoke County followed suit shortly thereafter.

Some districts are refusing to obey, instead following the policies advanced by former Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, whom Virginians determined at the ballot box was undeserving of another term.

ABC News indicated that the 2020 state law that brought about the creation of the model policies is mute on the subject of enforcement.

Jack Preis, a law professor at the University of Richmond, noted that school districts that flout the model policies, like Arlington Public Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools, would indeed be violating the law, though it is unclear what can be done to bring them to heel.

"There could be political consequences, but in terms of specific legal consequences, those would only flow from a judicial decision. And we won't see a judicial decision unless Miyares or an unhappy parent has the power to demand judicial enforcement. It appears unlikely that either of them have that power," said Preis.

Leftist apoplexy

Equality Virginia, an LGBT activist group among the various leftist outfits that have decried the VDOE's new policies, previously suggested that they serve to "escalate a culture war and drop a policy that harms kids."

The ACLU of Virginia claimed they will "harm and endanger trans youth."

Breanna Diaz, policy and legislative counsel with the state ACLU, said last month, "We are horrified that VDOE opted to move forward with proposed model policies that at best invite – and at worst, require – discrimination, that violate state and federal law, and have no place in Virginia schools.

It appears the the ACLU was unswayed by Miyares' opinion.

ACLU of Virginia legal director Eden Heilman said in a statement Thursday, "VDOE’s proposed model policies are part of a coordinated, national effort to erase transgender and nonbinary students from the classroom. ... Attorney General Jason Miyares’ opinion defending the policies is every bit as cruel and misguided as the policies themselves."

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