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Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022
Public comment on Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposed policies for transgender students opened yesterday. The policies forbid teachers from referring to students by their preferred pronouns without parental consent and block students from using their preferred bathrooms or gendered activities regardless.
As of Tuesday morning, more than 16,000 people had commented, Charlottesville parents and teachers among them.
“I am a teacher in Charlottesville City Schools and agree with the emphasis on referring to parents for how to support their students,” said a commenter who is in favor of the new policies.
“Far too many times have I had to sit and listen to a student cry because their parents don’t believe who they truly are and it’s heartbreaking. I beg our representatives to take a close look at this policy or come into our schools and see for yourselves before taking any action,” said a Charlottesville educator against them.
The public has 30 days to comment on Youngkin’s new transgender student policies and Charlottesville teachers and parents are weighing in
The public comment period will remain open until Oct. 26, then the State Superintendent of Public Instruction will decide whether to officially adopt the policies. It’s a little unclear what happens next.
The state has no real way to force local school boards into adopting its model policies, which is what these are. That’s evident when you look at how school boards handled the transgender student policies set by the previous Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration. Charlottesville and Albemarle were among just 10% of Virginia school divisions to adopt those. To date, the remaining 90% have faced no consequences for shirking the state mandate. The Virginia Mercury reported more on school districts that refused to adopt Northam’s transgender policies.
It’s also possible that the new policies proposed by the Youngkin administration are thrown out in court. Politicians and attorneys say they will likely be challenged, either for violating the Virginia Human Rights Act or for violating the 2020 law that requires Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to have model policies for transgender students. Here’s more from VPM on whether Youngkin’s policies are enforceable.
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Here’s a bit more news from this week:
Remote Area Medical, an organization that provides free medical clinics in communities around the world, is hosting a clinic in Fishersville on Nov. 19 and 20 at the Augusta Expo Center.
The group has held several clinics in Virginia. This is its first time in Fishersville.
The clinic was organized by a group of University of Virginia students called UVA RAM. They are seeking volunteer optometrists and interpreters, particularly those who speak Spanish, Russian or Pashto. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact UVA RAM at fishersville.ram.clinic [at] gmail [dot] com.
Seeking care? The clinic will offer free medical, dental and vision exams — no ID required — on a first come first serve basis. The patient parking lot at the Expo Center will open by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18. Clinic doors typically open at 6 a.m. Find out more on their Facebook page.
Thanks for reading!
Jessie Higgins, managing editor
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