Support for VDOE's Policies for the Treatment of Transgender Students
I support the draft guidance provided by the VDOE in regards to providing support and protect the human rights of our transgender students. All students have the right to a safe and supportive learning environment that is free of harassment and discrimination. As a school psychologist living and working in Virginia, I stand by the National Association of School Psychologists statement that, “all persons, including children and adolescents who are diverse in their sexuality and gender identities, expression, and/or presentation, have the inherent human right to equal opportunity and a physically and psychologically safe environment within all institutions.”
According to the CDC, although transgender students make up less than 2% of the student population across the nation, these students are at a significantly increased risk for being victims of bullying, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, self harm, and suicide. With approximately 56 million students in K-12 schools across the US that means that approximately 1,120,000 students are being placed in a significant health risk without the protections and support provided by these policies. The CDC reports "Given that violence victimization is a documented risk factor for substance use and suicide risk, implementation of interventions focused on reducing the victimization of transgender adolescents might be a key strategy for improving overall health."
Even if you do not understand transgender students and families, please understand that by voting against protecting their rights as students and citizens that you are placing them at an increased risk of health and safety.