10 signatures reached
To: Newport News School Board
Update NNPS Non-discrimination policy!
We, the students, staff, parents, family and community members, request that The Newport News Public Schools (NNPS) School Board review and update NNPS's Non-Discrimination Policy to include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The NNPS Statement of Non-Discrimination currently reads as follows:
The Newport News School Division does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, creed, marital status, age or disability in its programs, activities, or employment practices as required by the Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, Section 504, and ADA regulations.
This current policy was adopted on November 10, 1993. It was last revised almost 20 years ago on July 28, 1998 and was last reviewed without revision December 16, 2004.
Why is this important?
Our student and staff populations have changed tremendously in the almost 20 years since this policy was last updated. We have become a more diverse city and a more diverse school system. In many ways, we acknowledge, accept, support, include and celebrate our diversity in our schools. Our policies should also PROTECT this diversity in all of its forms.
According to a recent study (GLAAD’s third annual Accelerating Acceptance report), 20% of millennials and younger identify as LGBTQ, and 12% of millennials and younger identify as either transgender or gender-nonconforming. These are significant numbers. Statistically speaking, this means that, of our approximately 8,000 students in grades 9-12 alone, 1,600 of them likely identify (publicly or privately) as LGBT, and almost 1,000 identify (publicly or privately) as transgender or gender non-conforming. Of our approximately 4,700 district employees, it is likely that as many as 700-900 openly or privately identify as LGBTQ individuals.
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 gives school boards the authority to protect students and employees through policy updates.
According to Equality Virginia, today more than 25% of Virginia’s public school students and employees are protected based on their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. These protections now exist in 53 counties and 18 independent cities in our Commonwealth. Sadly, Newport News students and staff are not among them. Our LGBTQ students and staff members deserve these protections against discrimination.