From the Virginia tie:
Equality Virginia Launches School Board Policy Tracker
A total of 552,065 K-12 students in Virginia attend school in divisions that have fully adopted the VDOE Model Policy for Transgender Students
RICHMOND, VA — Today, Equality Virginia, the Commonwealth’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) equality, launched a School Board Policy and Meeting Tracker to provide parents, advocates, and students with information about local school board meetings, potential agenda items, and the opportunity for public comment, and whether the school district has adopted the Department of Education’s model policies Virginia Education (VDOE) for the treatment of transgender students in public elementary and secondary schools.
“Nearly half of Virginia’s K-12 students attend schools in divisions that have fully adopted the VDOE’s model policies for dealing with transgender students,” said Narissa S. Rahaman, executive director of EqualityVirginia. “These policies, developed in accordance with evidence-based best practices, give teachers and administrators essential tools to create safe, inclusive and supportive learning environments for all students. School boards across our Commonwealth have a unique and urgent opportunity to protect transgender students by adopting the model policies. »
In 2021, the VDOE released model policies regarding the treatment of transgender and non-binary students in Virginia public schools. The model policies address common issues affecting transgender students in accordance with evidence-based best practices and include information, guidance, procedures, and standards regarding: compliance with applicable non-discrimination laws; maintaining a safe and supportive learning environment free from discrimination and harassment for all students; prevention and response to bullying and harassment; maintenance of student records; identification of students; protection of student privacy and confidentiality of sensitive information; enforcement of gender-based dress codes; and student participation in gender-specific school activities, events, and use of school facilities. All local school boards were to adopt the policy as a baseline at the start of the 2021-22 school year.
A total of 552,065 Virginia K-12 students attend school in divisions that have fully adopted the VDOE policy and 699,905 students attend school in divisions that have not adopted sufficient policies. . Of Virginia’s 133 school districts, 13 school boards have fully adopted the VDOE’s model policies, eight have partially adopted the model policies, 90 have chosen to follow guidelines offered by the Virginia School Boards Association which asserts that existing policies meet the requirements of the law, nine school districts rejected VDOE policies and four considered no policies, saying their current policies are sufficient.
Equality Virginia’s tracker also provides dates, times and locations for monthly school board meetings, how parents, advocates and allies can sign up for public comment, links to day of meetings and highlight any policies or resolutions school boards are introducing that may impact LGBTQ+ students. . The tracker contains additional details such as contact information for school board members, the name of the superintendent, and whether the school board is elected or appointed or not.
“Over the past 18 months, thousands of students, parents, educators and allied members of the community have come to school board meetings and made public comments in support of transgender and non-binary students and policies that would protect them,” Kyleigh Hynes said. , Equality Virginia’s Safe Schools Coordinator. “Much of this work has been organized by people on the ground, and we want them to feel as empowered and prepared as possible as they continue to advocate in these meetings. The purpose of our tracker is to provide all the information a person might need to show up for a school board meeting or contact their board member, helping to break down barriers to participating in local advocacy work across the board. Commonwealth.
According to GLSEN’s 2019 National School Climate Survey, Virginia schools were unsafe for most LGBTQ+ high school students. Additionally, many LGBTQ+ students in Virginia lacked access to important school resources and were not protected by supportive and inclusive school policies. School supports such as supportive and inclusive school policies, school staff who support LGBTQ+ students, GSAs, and LGBTQ+ inclusive educational resources can have a positive effect on school climate for LGBTQ+ students. Results from GLSEN’s 2019 National School Climate Survey demonstrate that students attending schools with these resources and supports report more positive school experiences, including lower victimization and absenteeism and higher academic achievement.
Equality Virginia is a 501(c)(3) organization that works to build a fully inclusive Commonwealth by educating, empowering and mobilizing Virginians to ensure that all LGBTQ+ people are free to live, love, learn and to work.