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    The Virginia Department of Education’s new draft transgender policies received over 20,000 comments on Monday and Tuesday, the first two days of the 30-day public comment period. Comments on the “Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools” document include both support and opposition, and often show strong feeling about the policies. “We support this policy! God bless Governor Youngkin,” commenter Heather West wrote. “As a parent of six school aged children, I am grateful that Gov Youngkin has chosen to go to bat for us. It is brave to stand up against the tyranny of the rainbow crowd. Onward with more policies that promote REAL education and not social indoctrination. God bless us all as we work to restore truth to our educational institutions.” Commenter Matthew Dillon II said he opposed the policies: “My opinion would be that kids have rights over their identities. If my kid likes football and hates history, I cannot as a parent demand the school kick my kid off the football team and load up...
    Some school districts are already signaling resistance to new draft model policies from the Virginia Department of Education that will repeal current model policies controlling school district transgender policy. “We want to assure you that Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) will continue its commitment to both implement and develop gender affirming policies for all ACPS students. As a School Board and division, we are concerned with these ‘model policies’ that do not align with our mission, vision and core values to support all students and staff, in particular our core value of ensuring that we provide a welcoming environment for everyone in our school community,” Alexandria City Public Schools said in a letter to students, staff and families. Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Michelle Reid wrote in a letter to the community, “I understand the concerns that our LGBTQIA+ staff, student, and family community have about what this change of direction by the state may mean for our school division. Please be assured that FCPS remains committed to an inclusive learning environment for each and every student and staff member...
    The Virginia Department of Education posted a new draft of model policies to replace the Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students. The draft policies published Friday include an emphasis on parental rights as a major shift away from a current emphasis on protecting students’ gender identity from people, including family, who may not be understanding. The first point under the Guiding Principles section of the draft states, “Parents have the right to make decisions with respect to their children: Policies shall be drafted to safeguard parents’ rights with respect to their child, and to facilitate the exercise of those rights.” That point includes the most explanation with three subpoints: “Schools shall respect parents’ values and beliefs,” “Schools shall defer to parents to make the best decisions with respect to their children,” and “Schools shall keep parents informed about their children’s well-being“. Briefer explanations accompany the remaining three guiding principles: “Schools shall serve the needs of all students,” “Schools shall partner with parents,” and “Schools shall respect all students.” The VDOE, Governor Glenn Youngkin, and other top administration officials...
    After refusing to pass a transgender policy required by Virginia law, the Hanover County Public School Board has introduced a proposed transgender policy that, if enacted, will require a written request from both the student and their parents if that student wants to use a restroom or locker room that doesn’t correspond with their biological sex. Under the proposed policy the school board would approve or deny the requests. According to the policy, the request can include student disciplinary and criminal records, “information related to the privacy and safety of other students,” a statement from the student; statements from a physician, therapist, or counselor; a statement from the students’ guardian or parent; and “any other relevant information, including documents from other interested parties.” School officials can also request a meeting with the student and the parent before the school principal provides a summary of the request and the documents to the school board. The policy comes after months of sparring between the board, counseled by conservative organization the Alliance Defending Freedom, and transgender advocates including the ACLUVA.  Although there was...
    by Reagan Reese   The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is finishing model policies for school districts to give parents notice about lessons featuring “sexually explicit content,” according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. VDOE policy requires schools to post all “sexually explicit content,” including all materials used for the lessons and curriculum, on the school’s website and also requires parents to be alerted at least 30 days before the lessons take place. The policy says it is designed to help parents make decisions for their children “in accordance with their customs, faith and values.” “Additionally, local school boards should develop policies that provide parents the opportunity to change their decision by providing notice to the school,” it says. Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin signed an April bill mandating the adoption of the model policies by January. The public comment period on the model policies concluded on Aug. 3, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia argued that the model policy will “lead to classroom censorship,” according to an Aug. 2 comment sent to VDOE Superintendent Jillian Balow. “As drafted, the proposed model...
    A Virginia county school board declined to adopt policies provided and required by the state regarding the treatment of transgender students Thursday. The Augusta County School Board called a special meeting to decide whether it would agree to amend its nondiscrimination policies to reflect a set of policies the Virginia Department of Education provided outlining how schools should refer to and accommodate transgender students. State law requires districts to administer policies that reflect its model. The state’s model policies, whose stated aims are to “address common issues regarding transgender students” and “ensure that all students, including transgender students, have safe, supportive, and inclusive school environments,” provide that schools should eliminate dress code provisions requiring gender-specific attire and not use transgender students’ biological pronouns. VIRGINIA PARENTS SAY SUPPORTERS OF TRANSGENDER BATHROOM POLICY REJECT 'BIOLOGICAL' FACTS A majority of the Thursday meeting’s approximately 500 attendees objected to the policy changes and wore red clothing to demonstrate solidarity against them. “I believe parents want to have your backs if you stand up and vote no to the liberal...
                        Lynchburg Circuit Court Judge J. Frederick Watson dismissed lawsuits challenging the Virginia Department of Education’s (VDOE) model transgender policies. In the decision published Tuesday, Watson found that the plaintiffs the Christian Action Network (CAN) and the Founding Freedoms Law Center (FFLC) do not have standing. The plaintiffs had argued that the VDOE improperly responded to public comments. “VDOE contends that the appellants are not aggrieved by the model policies, which are directed not at the appellants but at the local school boards, which have flexibility to fashion policies consistent with the model policies,” Watson’s decision states. “In these cases, the appellants do not have standing to challenge the model policies. Their dissatisfaction with VDOE’s response to their comments does not create an immediate, pecuniary, or substantial interest in this litigation, but only a remote or indirect interest.” In a press release, Attorney General Mark Herring said he was proud of the work his team did to defend the VDOE. “Every single child who goes to school in the...
                        Two organizations asked the Lynchburg Circuit Court to issue a preliminary injunction against the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), temporarily blocking implementation of legally-mandated transgender policies in school boards across Virginia. On Wednesday, they argued that while a lawsuit over the policy proceeds, school boards are implementing the policies which, they said, could be harmful to children. In March, lawyers from the FFLC, and the Christian Action Network (CAN) sued the VDOE and Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. The lawsuit focuses on the VDOE’s Model Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students in Virginia’s Public Schools. The model policies took effect March 6, 2021, and school boards must adopt policies consistent with the model by the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year. However, the lawsuit says there are legal problems with the policies and that the VDOE did not properly address comments made during a legally required public comment phase. VDOE lawyer Melissa Charnes asked the court to dismiss the case and argued that the FFLC and CAN...
    A school board rejected a required policy Thursday from the Virginia Department of Education that in part mandates administrators to refer to students by their chosen gender pronouns instead of their biological pronouns. The Russell County school board voted unanimously to reject mandatory rule changes after residents packed into a meeting hall and expressed their displeasure with the guidelines for transgender students. “We do not hate transgender people. We do not hate homosexual people. We do not judge them," one resident said, prompting applause. "God will judge them. We hate the sin that they live, and that is the problem that we have in the community today, is that [it is] trying to be pushed on all of our children." The Virginia Department of Education is set to require updated educational guidelines pertaining to transgender students following approval from the commonwealth's legislature in 2020. The policies, which begin at schools in the fall, mandate that administrators allow students to use the name and gender pronouns that align with their identity "without requiring any particular substantiating evidence," according to...
    ORLANDO, Florida — The Republican Party should “absolutely” look to Florida as a model ahead of the 2022 elections, Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) said during an exclusive interview with Breitbart News on Friday. Appearing at CPAC, Steube pointed to the America First policies touted by former President Trump, which proved to be popular even among non-traditional Republican voters. “So I hope we’re going to focus on those America First policies and concentrate on that going into 2022. We only have to take five House seats back to take the majority in Congress. You don’t hear anybody in the mainstream media talking about that, because that doesn’t affect their purpose and their liberal ideology, but five seats is not a lot of seats,” he said, noting that redistricting will likely bode well for the GOP. “We’ve got redistricting here in Florida. With the census data, Florida is probably going to pick up one or two seats by population. Texas is going to pick up a seat. I think maps are going to be drawn in a way that could be helpful...
              Catholic Charities of Tennessee is receiving $7.3 million in state grant funds to expand social services to 10 Middle Tennessee counties, but part of the organization’s model is based on liberal services performed in Nashville. The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) said it is giving $50 in grants to 23 organizations and educational entities through its Two Generation (2Gen) approach. These grants will put close to $50 million into innovative programs that move children and their parents towards educational success and economic security. Each grant is funded through federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program dollars and approved through a collaboration with the Tennessee General Assembly. Catholic Charities said the program is called “Tennessee Serves Neighbors” and will create new family resource centers in 10 counties over the next two years. They will add services this year in Montgomery, Maury, Marshall, Bedford and Coffee counties. In 2021, the program will expand to Grundy, Warren, White, Dekalb and Putnam counties. DHS and Catholic Charities identified counties with high levels poverty and reliance...
    PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As President-elect Joe Biden meets with his transition team to prepare for the White House, the non-partisan Penn Wharton Budget Model is sharing some insight into the possible short-term and long-term economic effects of a Biden administration. The model, which PWBM Director of Policy Analysis Rich Prisinzano describes as an elaborate tax calculator, projects that the vast majority of the population will not be affected by Biden’s proposed tax increases — just the wealthiest Americans. “The minimum amount that you’d have to make to face any of these increases would be $400,000 in wages and that group is in the top 5% of the income distribution,” he said. Though lower-income Americans wouldn’t see their taxes impacted, Prisinzano said some would see benefits through other aid programs. “Expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, expanded Child Tax Credit, some of the spending programs, like free college for those under 125 [thousand dollars],” he said. The model shows that changes to the country’s immigration policies would affect the economy positively, some almost immediately, by reinstating the number of highly skilled foreign...
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