A Teacher’s Perspective on VDOE Model Policies

Gary DeBaldo | Fairfax County Times

As a public-school teacher for 12 years in Fairfax County Public Schools and living in Loudoun County with two children – one of which will be school age soon – I am well acquainted with the tough conversations on transgender issues happening in schools. While I personally do not agree with left wing views on transgenderism, there still needs to be a way for public schools to operate while serving all of Virginia’s families. The model policies set forth by the VA Department of Education allow for public schools to operate in such a way.

The model policies set forth are based on common sense and a reasonableness that allows parents to retain the freedom of how they want to direct the upbringing and education of their children. One clear way parents are allowed to direct the upbringing of their children is by having explicit knowledge whether their student is choosing to associate with another gender. This concept of parental rights should be an obvious and forgone conclusion.

As an educator, I am responsible for notifying the parents about so many things from getting parental approval for a field trip, to making sure I adhere to the parental consent for students to use technology, and schools themselves need parental permission for students to participate in after school activities. It only stands to reason that I, as an educator, be required to notify parents of a student who is considering such a monumental change as gender transitioning.

Yet, this is not always the case, and it is not always clear what educators are to do when they find out this information from a student. In fact, a previously labeled “mandatory” Fairfax County Public Schools teacher training video I partly completed made it vague to understand if, how, and when the parents should be notified of such a change. Many people outside of the classroom experience may think there are already safeguards in place to ensure parents have this right to know what is going on with their child at such an intimate level. However, from firsthand experience as a classroom teacher, educators have a great deal of freedom in the classroom even with classroom observations and school board policies in place.

This proposed VDOE model policy of explicitly putting the parents in charge allows parents to remain the appropriate authority in their child’s life. This policy ensures both parents and students who have values and beliefs which go against transgenderism are respected and those parents and students who have values in agreement with transgenderism are respected as well and can easily sign off in approval.

Living in Loudoun County, I am aware of controversies surrounding bathroom use. Here again the model policies provide a way to ensure the needs of all parents and students are met related to bathroom usage. The new policies will allow parent opt-in forms for single sex bathroom use. This means that if a local school district does allow transgender students to use a bathroom other than that of the biological sex of the student, other parents who feel their child may be unsafe can opt their child into using a single sex bathroom or another reasonable accommodation.

The model policies presented by VDOE provide common sense reasonable guidelines to allow a wide range of school districts across this commonwealth the guidance to operate effectively and safely for all students. These policies will also have the effect of appealing to a broad range of views on these issues – from those on my side who vehemently oppose the transgender ideology and those who vehemently support this ideology. It is not the goal of state public education departments to support a side in a culture war, but it is their job to help school systems navigate these issues effectively. This is what these model policies set forth by the VDOE will allow school systems to do – to effectively provide a safe learning environment for all stakeholders in the Virginia public education system.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published by the Fairfax County Times on July 21, 2023.

The Virginia Board of Education will meet on July 27, beginning at 9:00 AM, in the James Monroe Building (101 N. 14th Street, Richmond, VA 23219).

If you’d like to express your support for the new model policies, sign up here to speak or submit a written comment here.

Share This Article:

Newsletter Signup

Sign up to be the first to receive news and events from Fairfax GOP!
Electing Republicans At Every Level


Powered by VOTEGTR

Early Voting is On!

Make a plan to vote!
Get your custom sample ballot and local precinct polling info here:
No thanks. Take me back to the Fairfax GOP home page.

2024 U.S. Senate & Congressional Primary

GOP Primary Election Day is Tuesday, June 18

Election Calendar

  • Early voting opens 5/3
  • 5/28 – Deadline to register to vote (otherwise, same-day registration with provisional ballot)
  • 6/7 – Deadline to apply for an absentee ballot​
  • 6/8 - One of two Saturdays open for early voting, and additional early voting locations open.
  • Early Voting ends 6/15
  • 6/18 – Election Day

We need you on our team in '24.

Get active in the effort to take back Fairfax County from the progressives hellbent on raising taxes, coddling criminals, and socializing public schools.
First things first. Are you receiving info about local GOP events and elections?

No problem. We can fix that right now.

Thanks. We won’t overload your inbox, but we will keep you in the loop on important Fairfax GOP info and events.

Do you want to recieve news of events via text msg?
By providing your phone number, you are consenting to receive recurring calls and SMS/MMS campaign and donation messages, including autodialed and automated calls and texts to that number from the Fairfax County Republican Committee. Msg & data rates may apply. You agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Text HELP for help and STOP to stop. Msg & data rates may apply.

The Fairfax GOP is recruiting new members who agree we need to draw a line in the sand and take our county back from the progressives.

Would you consider joining the Fairfax GOP as a voting member so you can have your say on committee business, candidates, and policy resolutions?*
No thanks. Take me back to the Fairfax GOP home page.