VEA Statement on the Discriminatory and Shameful Anti-LGBTQ Policy Passed by Bedford County School Board
June 9, 2023
June 9, 2023
Since Governor Youngkin has entered office, he and other lawmakers have proposed policy changes to promote bullying of LGBTQ+ students in schools, silence conversations on diverse communities and their history, and make life harder for marginalized students. Unfortunately, we’ve now seen this mean-spirited and politicized rhetoric trickle down to the local level, with the Bedford County School Board passing what amounts to its own version of a “Don’t Say Gay” law in their schools on June 8th.
“Schools should be places for open discussion of all types of people and histories, and students and teachers should feel safe to engage in educational and honest dialogue. This needless and cruel policy shift in Bedford County Public Schools will silence classroom conversations and make students feel less safe and able to fully participate,” said Dr. James J. Fedderman, President of the Virginia Education Association.
Taisha Steele, Director of Human and Civil Rights at Virginia Education Association said, “All students and staff should be able to show up to school each day as their full, authentic selves. This policy opens the door to bullying, harassment, and suicide risks, and will undoubtedly harm students.”
“Educators in Bedford County are dedicated professionals who care about every single student they encounter—they take them as they come, value them as a whole person, and are somehow able to work academic miracles despite the myriad obstacles they face at home and in the community,” said Bedford County Education Association President Kristina Childress. “These educators will continue to do what is best for their students each and every day.”
The Virginia Education Association calls on the Bedford County School Board to reverse this discriminatory, needless, and cruel policy on which history will not reflect kindly. Nevertheless, VEA stands by to support all members affected by this policy to ensure due process is protected when civil rights are violated.