Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Letter You Should Write to Your K-12 Schools | The Huffington Post

The Letter You Should Write to Your K-12 Schools | The Huffington Post:

The Letter You Should Write to Your K-12 Schools

Zach Stafford is a journalist for The Guardian who, after the Trump Administration this week moved to redact Federal enforcement protecting transgender students, called on people to write letters to their alma mater in support of equal protections for the full LGBTQ community in schools.
The following is letter I authored and sent to the Board of Education, senior leaders, and guidance counselors of every school in the district where I grew up. Identifying information redacted (*), as the purpose of this letter is not to incriminate that school district, but to encourage you to write a similar letter.
As an alumnus of * Schools, I would first like to thank you for your service to the school district and the broader community. Having completed my entire K-12 education at *, *, and *, and having grown up in the home of a public school educator, I am immensely appreciative of the work done by the faculty and staff of the * schools.
Unfortunately, the reason I am writing you now is to address a very serious concern that affects your families and the students of *. As I imagine you know, President Donald Trump this week moved to redact Federal enforcement for the protections of transgender students in public schools. As a matter of government policy, I appreciate that there is room to debate the merits of Federal- versus State-enforced regulation, but I am not inclined to try to persuade you that this is a matter for the Federal government. The truth is that this isn’t even necessarily a matter for the State government. In the end, it is a matter for you. The policies you set forth in the * are what have a direct and meaningful impact on the lives of the students over whom you keep watch and I am writing to ask that you take action to support every member of the LGBTQ community within your schools.
Just as the Civil Rights Movement was not a matter of water fountain segregation, the fight for equal LGBTQ rights is not a matter of bathroom use. According to a 2014 study conducted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the UCLA School of Law, the general population attempted suicide rate is just under 5%. For gay, bisexual, and lesbian people, this number ranges from 10 to 20%. For transgender people, this number is 41%. It’s nearly 10-times the national average. Furthermore, the study concludes that individuals who are forced to publicly identify themselves as being transgender (for example, by having to use a public restroom in which they feel they do not belong) have a still-higher incidence of suicidality. My reason for referencing these findings is to reinforce the importance of open minds and inclusive policies in public spaces.
I also want to draw to your attention a few anecdotal points, as it can often be difficult toThe Letter You Should Write to Your K-12 Schools | The Huffington Post: 

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