EPPC Scholars Submit Comment Supporting Virginia School Policies that Revoke Gender Ideology and Restore Respect for Rights of Parents and All Students

Published October 26, 2022

Public Comment

On October 26, 2022, EPPC scholars Ryan T. Anderson, Mary Hasson, Rachel N. Morrison, and Roger Severino submitted a public comment in support of proposed model policies for Virginia public schools that acknowledge and restore the government’s obligation to respect rights, particularly First Amendment rights of all and the fundamental rights of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children.

The proposed policies by the Virginia Department of Education would withdraw and replace existing policies on gender identity in schools issued in 2021.

The scholars explain:

The Department is right to withdraw the 2021 Model Policies, given the ideological bias that tainted the formulation and substance of those policies. Further, the 2021 Policies exceeded the statutory mandate by using the model policies as a vehicle to force ideologically driven social change on students, faculty, and other school community members, not only in the absence of evidence, but contrary to it. For example, the “Terminology” section of the 2021 Model Policies includes controversial terms premised not on science but on ideological beliefs about the human person, identity, and sexual difference.

The EPPC scholars also provided in their comment some specific suggestions for improvements and sources for evidence-based best practices, as required by Virginia law.

The scholars conclude, “We applaud Virginia’s concrete action to respect parental rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and laws of Virginia and to ensure privacy, dignity, and respect for all students in Virginia schools.”

Read EPPC’s Press Release about EPPC’s and other groups’ comments here.

Rachel N. Morrison is a Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where she works on EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project. An attorney, her legal and policy work focuses on religious liberty, health care rights of conscience, the right to life, nondiscrimination, and civil rights.

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