Inclusive Schools

Equality Virginia believes that all students and school employees have the right to feel safe in their educational environment or workplace, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.

Current Status

Today, more than 25% of of Virginia’s public school students and employees are protected based on their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Beginning in 2012, only 1.85% of Virginia public school students in two districts were protected by a bullying policy enumerated with sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Due to Attorney General Mark Herring’s 2015 opinion on school boards’ authority, they now have the power to amend non-discrimination policies for employees to include sexual orientation and gender identity. This means that school boards now have the authority to protect students and employees through policy updates.

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Our Work

Equality Virginia works with public school districts across Virginia to update bullying and nondiscrimination policies to include gay and transgender students.

A 2013 survey from GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) shows that verbal harassment decreases by over 20% in schools with LGBT-inclusive anti-bullying policies. Additionally, employees of these districts are more likely to intervene when they witness instances of harassment. Therefore, we believe it is in the school district’s best interests to implement comprehensive nondiscrimination policies to protect students in the state of Virginia.

Equality Virginia recommends the inclusion of such policies as:

  • Access to appropriate bathrooms and locker areas based on gender identity
  • Respect of preferred names and pronouns
  • A dress-code that allows students to dress in an appropriate manner that matches their gender identity

Take Action

Do you have a story to share?

Tell it!
Tell it! If you have been the victim or witness of bullying, harassment, discrimination or violence at your school Share your experiences with bullying or violence through Equality Virginia’s Tell It campaign.