In a move that could further inflame the debate over how to handle transgender rights in schools, Virginia will no longer allow students to use facilities marked for the gender they identify with and will mandate that they file legal documents if they wish to be called by different pronouns. Those directives were among several guidelines for schools that the Virginia Department of Education announced on Friday in a reversal of transgender policies that the state outlined last year.
The guidelines, or Model Policies, released by the administration of Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, also say that schools must “keep parents fully informed about all matters” related to a child’s health and social and psychological development, and that schools may not “encourage or instruct teachers to conceal material information about a student from the student’s parent, including information related to gender.” The guidelines also say that school personnel will not be required to address or refer to a student “in any manner” that would run counter to an employee’s personal or religious beliefs.
The reversal builds on Mr. Youngkin’s promises during his campaign for governor. “The 2022 model policy posted delivers on the governor’s commitment to preserving parental rights and upholding the dignity and respect of all public school students,” said Macaulay Porter, a spokesman. Democrats and L.G.B.T.Q. activists say the policy poses a clear harm to transgender children, including forcing educators to disclose a child’s gender identity to parents.