Creating 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 Virginia’s public school students and employees are protected based on their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Due to Attorney General Mark Herring’s 2015 opinion on school boards’ authority, localities are able to enact nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity. This allows school boards to have the authority to protect students and employees through policy updates.

Safe Schools Equality Map

Our Safe Schools work includes sharing educational documents and personal stories, facilitating training, phone calls, letters, and meetings with school board members and administrative officials, sending membership emails, and participation in public comment periods.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Our Work

Equality Virginia works with public school districts across Virginia to update bullying and nondiscrimination policies so that they include covers both sexual orientation and gender identity & expression.

A 2013 survey from GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) shows that verbal harassment decreases by over 20% in schools with LGBTQ-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.

We work to ensure every LGBTQ student has a fair chance to succeed in school and prepare for their future. Every child should be treated fairly and equally under the law.

Take Action

  • We need your help making advancements Virginia’s public schools.  Inform school board members and school administrators about the importance of GSAs and discuss how the student conduct code can be amended and enforced to better protect LGBTQ students from bullying, intimidation, and harassment.  Write us at for information on how to work with your school board.
  • Read the EV’s recommended model policy to address bullying, harassment, and intimidation here.
  • Start a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) at your high school. GSA’s are a great way to educate students about diversity and support LGBTQ students. See the Jump Start Guide from GLSEN.
  • Talk to your school board or local schools about setting up a training program for teachers and school administrators on LGBTQ issues. Side by Side provides fee-for-service training for school personnel, mental health professionals, court services and social service agencies.
  • Meet with your state delegate and senator to educate them about the importance of GSA’s to the prevention of harassment and bullying.  Prepare to oppose anti-GSA legislation. Click here to find out who your state representatives are.

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.


LGBTQ Students, Teachers, Parents:

Transgender/gender nonconforming specific resources: