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Virginia Gov. Youngkin Wants Teachers to "Out" Gay Kids to Their Parents

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has formulated a monumentally stupid public policy idea in order to pacify the GOP's evangelical base; he wants teachers to "out" LGBTQ kids to their parents.

Virginia Pilot: "During an interview this week, Youngkin was asked for his thoughts regarding schools that withhold information from parents about a student’s gender identity or sexual orientation, and whether he believes the Virginia Board of Education should pass new guidance on the issue." ...
“I think everybody knows where I stand; parents matter,” Youngkin said. “Parents should be at the forefront of all of these discussions. And I firmly believe that teachers and schools have an obligation to make sure that parents are well informed about what’s happening in their kids’ lives.”

the Virginia Board of Education currently advises schools to respect the privacy of students and not to "out" kids to their parents without their permission. It's a wise and respectful policy and not one Youngkin should change. One doesn't have to have much of an imagination to see how Youngkin's proposed policy could go very wrong, very quickly. Schools are often a safe space for gay and lesbian students with unsupportive families. Changing that would force many students back into the closet out of fear that their relationships with other students at school would trigger a call home to the parents.

MetroWeekly: "Advocates also say that outing, in the long term, may harm the mental well-being of some students, who may choose to keep quiet about their struggles with their identity, out of fear that administrators and teachers will inform on them to their parents."

Students should be able to disclose their sexual identities to their parents when they feel comfortable doing so, not when a teacher hears about or suspects it. Moreover, shouldn't school policies encourage an open dialog between students and their school counselors and teachers? And, Youngkin's proposal puts teachers in an impossible situation; honoring a confidence vs. following state guidelines.

Several Virginia officials spoke out against Youngkin's proposal last week.

VA Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg [who is a teacher]: "I’m a teacher. I would never out a kid. Ever. My job is to help them thrive.’”
Former Gov. Ralph Northam’s Secretary of Education, Atif Qarni: "Generally, the students who might be coming to an adult in the building…and talking in confidence, it’s probably because the HOME atmosphere is not open and welcoming. That’s why this is a protection issue, it’s a safety issue for that child. They might not have been threatened by a family member, but they might feel like they could be. So…protecting that conversation so [the kids] don’t get harmed, or they don’t get ostracized or bullied at home or harassed, or something bad might happen to them. So it’s really about the student's safety.”

It's true that Youngkin owes his election to a strong turnout of evangelical Christian voters in rural Western Virginia, but as Governor he is responsible for the welfare of all the state's residents. His proposed "outing" policy will undermine the well-being of one of the state's most vulnerable minority groups. Political calculations and his desire for higher office shouldn't be a factor.

#news #politics

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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