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Family Life Education Should Include Material about LGBT and Questioning Students and Families

I recently joined several other Senators and Delegates in siging the following letter to the Fairfax County School Board:

 

May 28, 2015 

Dear School Board Members,

As representatives of Fairfax County, we applaud the Fairfax County School Board for its recent vote to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its non-discrimination policy. We also encourage the Board to adopt age-appropriate Family Life Education and health curriculum that affirms LGBT youth.

The Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee, a large cross-section of parents, students, administrators, and teachers, spent months studying how best to address these questions. Every single one of their suggestions was recommended unanimously or nearly-unanimously. These proposed updates include important information about biological development, differences among individuals and families, and healthy decision making.

Suicide rates among LGBT and questioning youth remain several times higher than among their heterosexual counterparts. In fact, the most recent Fairfax County youth survey found 49 percent of self-identified gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning students had experienced symptoms of depression and 38 percent had seriously considered suicide. Given these realities, it is vital that we teach tolerance and non-discrimination of all people and make it clear to LGBT and questioning teens that they are normal and valued members of our community.

We commend the efforts the Fairfax County School Board has made toward making our schools safe spaces for everyone and commend the advisory committee for its important work.

Sincerely,

Senator Adam Ebbin

Senator Barbara Favola

Senator Toddy Puller

Delegate Kaye Kory

Delegate Alfonso Lopez

Delegate Marcus B. Simon

Delegate Richard Sullivan

Delegate Scott Surovell