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Virginia Beach School Board mulls controversial transgender model policies

For now, the division will operate under an amended policy on non-discrimination and non-harassment of students.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach schools will operate under an amended policy on non-discrimination and non-harassment of students, for now, following a vote Tuesday night.

The policy prohibits any discrimination, harassment and bullying based on a person's race, sexual orientation and gender identity, among other things.

On Tuesday night, the Virginia Beach School Board still didn't vote on the state's model policies for transgender students. Instead, they will have a workshop to develop protocols and regulations later this month.

The policy amendment comes after the Virginia Beach School Board failed to pass a resolution to adopt recently updated transgender "model policies" created by the Virginia Department of Education in August.

RELATED: Virginia Beach School Board fails to pass resolution to adopt new transgender student policies

According to Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, the policies titled "Ensuring Privacy, Dignity and Respect", were written with a focus on empowering parents to have better knowledge of their child's education and experience.

LGBTQ advocates and organizations have criticized the policies, over language that they say is discriminatory against transgender youth, some of which include passages related to a parent's knowledge of their child's gender identity:

"No policy, guidance, training, or other written material issued by the [School Division] may encourage or instruct teachers to conceal material information about a student from the student’s parent, including information related to gender. Provided, however, that [School Division] will comply with all laws that prohibit disclosure of information to parents, including but not limited to Code of Virginia § 22.1-272.1(B) (prohibiting parental contact where student is at imminent risk of suicide related to parental abuse or neglect).

The policies also include language directing school staff to only identify students using pronouns that align with their birth sex.

In a television interview, Youngkin said "it's the law" for school divisions to adopt these model policies, as other school districts across Virginia are now either adopting or rejecting the adoption of the guidelines.

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