Parents matter. That sentiment lies at the heart of the policies recently finalized by the Virginia Department of Education. Those policies reinforce the dignity of all students while reinforcing the primacy of the role parents play in raising their children. As logical as those principles sound to most Virginians, the actions by Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration stand in sharp contrast to some of the political opposition his actions have received.

While radical leftist groups will attempt to demonize the new standards as allowing for the demonization of children who identify as transgender, the actual document does no such thing. The standards mention “bullying” no fewer than 35 times in the 16-page document, in each case noting statutory prohibitions on bullying that protect all students, and providing resources for families and schools to understand their rights and protect children.

But the standards also make clear “the rights of parents to exercise their fundamental rights … to direct the care, upbringing, and education of their children.” Consistent with those rights, the standards defer to parents regarding students’ gender identity and social transitioning. This construct will ensure that all students get treated with respect and dignity, while making sure that parents retain the central role in the upbringing of their children, consistent with both the U.S. Constitution and existing Virginia law.

As the mother of two young girls, I also appreciate that the standards uphold the integrity of athletic competitions for biological women. By stating that athletic activities will be determined by sex at birth, the standards ensure that girls will not have to compete on an unfair playing field against those born biologically male.

As simple as these commonsense principles seem, they stand in direct contrast to actions and statements by many Virginia lawmakers in recent years. For instance, Sen. Monty Mason (D-Williamsburg) was captured on a “hot mic” in April calling a bill requiring age verification for users of adult websites “stupid” and “just all a part of this parental crap that they’re selling.” Mason’s colleague, Del. Shelly Simonds (D-Newport News), likewise agreed, noting that “the [Virginia] House is in the hands of the Republicans, and they can push through all kinds of stupid things. We rely on the Senate to kill it all.”

This type of dismissive, paternalistic attitude pervades among many Democratic lawmakers in Virginia. Who can forget the infamous comments by Terry McAuliffe during an election debate two years ago, when the former governor stated that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

As a Virginia parent, I care quite a bit about what my children’s schools teach. And just as I can’t fathom why Democratic legislators would object to preventing children from accessing pornographic websites, I can only imagine the pain inflicted on parents whose schools allow their children to “socially transition” to a new gender identity behind the parents’ backs.

Through their comments, Democratic lawmakers have demonstrated a fundamentally un-American belief. In their eyes, children — to say nothing of everyone else — function not as part of individual families, but as wards of the state, which can override parents’ interests to do whatever they please.

I couldn’t disagree with this premise more. I’m glad that Gov. Youngkin’s administration agrees, and has taken steps through the revised standards to restore some much-needed sanity to schools across the commonwealth.