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Safety and Inclusion Are Key to Success

Respect Student Voices

My heart broke listening to adults demonizing and dehumanizing students at the last school board meeting demonize and dehumanize students, which is why I am so appreciative of your continued support of FCPS regulation 2603 regarding Gender-expansive and Transgender Students. Your action supports the rights of students and parents, while abiding by state and federal civil rights regulations and policies.

Those same speakers demanded that you get “back to the basics” like “reading, writing, and math.” This “get back to the basics” rhetoric only focuses on subject matter, while ignoring key basics like safety and inclusion, which are critically necessary to ensure that students have the opportunity to succeed in and out of school.

Research shows that when students feel unsafe or excluded at school, their ability to learn and succeed in school decreases dramatically.

Students cannot learn if they fear their hijab will be ripped off or that a gunman will enter school. Students cannot learn if they fear being outed by a teacher, or are prevented from using the bathroom of their gender identity. Students cannot learn if they are abused at home or excluded at school.

Inclusion means making sure that every student can see themselves in the books and history lessons, but also among the educators. It means equitable support and accessible classes for students with disabilities and English language learners, yet it also includes offering advanced math for all.

Students support school safety and inclusion. They have said this again and again in surveys and their advocacy. They have walked out against gun violence and in support of inclusion of and respect for LGBTQIA students. Thus, it makes me wonder why so many adults seem to be so angry about these “basics,” since most adults do not spend half of their lives in school every day.


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