On November 12, the Albemarle County Public School (ACPS) Board voted 5-2 to change their non-discrimination policies. They added to the equal educational opportunity policy, and the equal employment opportunity policy, the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” thus codifying protections for ACPS lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and personnel.
White Hall District board representative Barbara Massie Mouly was one of only two dissenters.
As a resident of Crozet, and an employee of a support organization for LGBT youth, I was dismayed by Ms. Mouly’s attempt to block this effort for these students (and personnel).
Numerous studies report staggering bullying, depression, truancy, and suicide rates for this demographic. Students report that the primary source of discrimination and damage is at school.
All students deserve to feel respected and safe while accessing their education, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Adding specific language to these policies helps clarify, for all of us, the kinds of discrimination that will not be tolerated in our schools!
In my opinion, a vote against this update sends a clear message to our children, and their families: that Ms. Mouley is not willing to respect and protect all students, that she does not care to offer each of them equal educational and developmental opportunities and success, and that she supports the perpetuation of damaging and divisive hatred and discrimination in our school community!
I hope you will join me in thanking the majority of ACPS board members for making this critical policy change!