I am writing to you as a parent of three public school students, Virginia resident, and member of the Norfolk School Board. My comments are mine alone and are not reflective of the views of the Norfolk School Board.
I am writing in opposition to the VDOE's plan, under the Youngkin administration, to reverse the 2021 model policy for the treatment of transgender students. The Youngkin adminisration's actions to reverse the 2021 policy is unacceptable and reprehensible given the negative impacts it will continue to ensue on our transgender youth at a time when districts are making great strides to create more caring, supportive, and inclusive learning environments.
A recent report by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), showed that nearly 82% of LGBTQ+ students felt unsafe while at school and that these feelings, in what is perceived as increasingly hostile learning environments, has impacted students' participation in extracurricular activities, school functions, and achieving positive academic outcomes. These findings are in alignment with mounting research that has found a correlation between gender-supporting and gender-affirming policies and learning environments and improved mental health, stronger sense of belonging at school, decreased emotional stress, and improved student outcomes.
It is my hope you will consider the vast research on the importance of supporting LGBTQ+ students in an effort to ensure that each child is able to reach their full potential.