As an educator and APS parent I oppose the policies put forth by the VDOE. These policies do not take child growth and development into consideration and place school ahead of family relationships. Among my many concerns are the following:
-As children grow they are constantly trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in. Placing a label on students that can forever impact their future is wrong. Children should be allowed to question and wrestle with their identities without having to choose pronouns, or take any public action.
-Parents are the most important people in a child’s life; it is their role to parent, not the role of the school. The role of a parent cannot be replaced. It is not the job of the school to decide what parents should or shouldn’t support. It is not the job of a school to decide what is right or wrong for a given family. It is normal for parents and children to disagree at times. It is normal for parents to have to guide a child, advise for or against something, to set rules, and to set expectations. It is not the role of a school to hold secrets from families and to drive a wedge in family relationships.
-As an elementary school teacher I have had the whole gamut when it comes to family types, student backgrounds, faith, language and ability levels. I love all of my students and strive to make my classroom a place where each child is seen and loved. Children wrestle, flourish, learn and grow throughout the school year, this is normal and should be allowed to happen without the need for a label, name, or special group.
-As a teacher it is my job to teach and to find ways to help all of my students to demonstrate their learning. As for the child’s role it should be to learn and grow, and to wrestle with hard questions as they do so. It is not the school’s role to push for quick fixes and/or labels, that could forever alter the life of a child or a child’s role to make such decisions without their parents’ involvement.