I oppose the Governor’s ill-advised “Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for all Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools” which actually assails the rights of students, parents, and educators. It ignores the legitimate rights of students to express their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about themselves, and to trust that the educators and advisors in their schools will have their interests at heart and keep the confidence that the children placed in them to help them weather the storm of issues that they may be facing. No child should have to hide who they are, who they are becoming, or what they want for their own lives. Parents should be respected to pursue medical and psychological counseling for their children without worrying that the state will interfere. And employees of all school systems in Virginia should be assured that they can continue to teach, support, and interact with children and their parents in ways that have the best interests of the child at the forefront of their efforts, without being required to “out” a child.
Bullying should be condemned and addressed with disciplinary action. Mis-gendering a child or a child’s loved ones should be a cause for disciplinary action, whether committed by another student, a teacher, advisor, coach or administrator.
Respect for a member of the LGBTQ+ community should be a given. Privacy for a child to explore, express, and mature in a way that will give them joy in being alive should be celebrated. The number of lives lost to suicide will be reduced by such actions by all citizens of the Commonwealth. The Governor should not enact this policy.