All children and youth in Virginia deserve to enter our public schools with a sense of safety and belonging. Instead of safeguarding this fundamental component of our education system, the final model policies provide fertile ground for discrimination and stigma against LGBTQ+ students. These policies threaten the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ+ students, putting them at further risk for academic and social disengagement, at a time when Virginia ranks 48th in the nation for access to youth mental health services. Moreover, they place the best interests of children, youth, and families in the middle of a divisive culture war and put Virginia’s dedicated educators in impossible positions.
We believe that children and youth can be trusted as experts on their needs. We remind local school divisions that these policies are merely guidance and that local leaders retain discretion on adoption of these policies. Our partners at Pride Liberation Project, He She Ze and We, Side by Side Virginia, Equality Virginia, and ACLU of Virginia have resources and safe & affirming spaces for youth.Read More Blog Posts