Effort to Implement Transgender Student Policies for Virginia Schools Moves On

Jan 10, 2020

Democratic Senator Jennifer Boysko of Herndon has a bill that would require the Department of Education to come up with a model policy. It passed in a subcommittee Friday.
Credit AP Photo / Steve Helber

Schools across Virginia may soon have a standard set of rules for how to deal with transgender students.

School in Virginia have widely varying ways of dealing with transgender students in terms of which bathrooms they should use and even which pronouns are spoken. That’s why Democratic Senator Jennifer Boysko of Herndon has a bill that would require the Department of Education to come up with a model policy.

Willow Woycke at the Transgender Education Association testified in favor of the bill. 

“They fear going from school to school. They fear every new teacher and every new principal," said Woycke. "So moving forward on this bill will make them more confident that they can move somewhere else in Virginia and still have their kid supported.” 

Boysko’s bill passed a subcommittee on a party-line three-to-two vote. One of the Republicans voting against the bill was Senator Mark Peake of Lynchburg. 

“Do we need a certain category for every individual? I tend to think not, and I think we should have a policy that applies in public schools, private schools, wherever, that everyone is treated fairly," Peake said. "And I don’t know why we need to single out every category of individual.”

Similar bills have been unsuccessful in the past, when Republicans were in charge. But now that Democrats have the majority, supporters believe they’ll finally be able to create some protections for Virginia’s transgender students.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.