Public Comments for: HB583 - Public elementary and secondary school students; ability to pay for meals and school meal debt.
Last Name: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB 1034. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. I have worked in two different public school systems in Virginia over 13 years, and I have seen first hand how beneficial counseling services can be to a wide variety of students. If parents are allowed to prohibit their students from accessing counseling services in the school, these students may be cut off from not only critical mental health support, but but also the academic, career, and community support that school counselors and mental health team members provide. All members of a school mental health team must undergo rigorous education before obtaining their licenses, and as such they should be trusted as the professionals they are to provide only services that they deem necessary for students well-being. I strongly urge you to let the trained mental health professionals do their jobs. Don't make students get tied in the mire of adult squibbles. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Watkins Locality: Reston

To Whom It May Concern, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB HB1032. As a public high school school teacher and parent of two young children (ages 5 and 2) in Virginia, I have serious concerns that this bill will wind up doing more harm than good for the children of our state. As VA Senator Peterson said on January 27 of this year, regarding a similar bill, "I don't think we should be involved in micromanaging school libraries...The problem is that you’re going to sweep up books that you don’t intend to sweep up" (Matthew Barakat, abcnews.go.com). I strongly urge you to leave the books in the libraries for the kids. They deserve to have the opportunity to decide with their own parents and personal support systems what books to read. Thank you, Sara Watkins Mother Teacher Concerned Virginia Citizen

Last Name: Edwards Organization: Voices for Virginia's Children Locality: Henrico

Greetings, My name is Chlo'e Edwards with Voices for Virginia's Children where our mission is to improve the laws of Virginia's children, particularly those at the greatest disadvantage. We are supportive of the following bills: HB1184 (Guzman), HB582 (Roem), HB 629 (Roem), HB583 (Roem), HB 587 (Roem), HB649 (Carr). As of 2020, the number of children (0-17) and young adults (18-24) in Virginia is just above 2.6M, and yet, too many children struggle to meet their basic needs. Poverty rates in Virginia remain unchanged in the past decade. Additionally, barriers to access to services and resources still persist for families of diverse identities and that face unique challenges. Voices believes in creating just and fair futures for Virginia's children as we know that children are the future. In creasing access to services and supports for Virginia's children today to ensure they live, thrive, and survive, we are creating a brighter future tomorrow. We hope that it pleases the member of the committees to support these initiatives as there are

Last Name: Lott Locality: Loudoun County Virginia

Comments Document

Date: January 25th 2022 Document: Public Comment for HB583 Bill Chief Patron: Delegate Danica A. Roem Commentator: Wanda B. Lott, Loudoun County Virginia Position: Against the bill Summary of my position: I am against the passing of HB583 because I am for the passing of HB511. If both bills pass, HB583 will make public education unequal for students who are homeschooled I believe if HB511 is passed and HB583 is also passed, HB583 will make education in Virginia unequal and here is why: Many homeschool students still are enrolled in part time courses within their local school districts. When I first withdrew my son from full time public school attendance to homeschool oversight, he remained enrolled part time in two courses at his local public school. Per code of Virginia 22.1-253.13:2. Standard 2. Instructional, administrative, and support personnel, students who are enrolled on a part time basis at their local public school are counted in that school’s ADM, which means the school still receives funding for them. I am not sure how much funding per child this amounts to in Virginia but historically schools receive half of what they would have received if the child attended full time. This means that a part time homeschooler would still be providing a school with funding above what it takes to provide two courses for them. Having contributed that, it would be unequal to then require that the homeschooler pay for the opportunity to participate in interscholastic sports at that same school if the student desires, but whose parents do not have the ability to pay. Although the narrative is that homeschoolers coming from wealthier families, this is not the case. Many parents of various social economic groups have moved to homeschooling due to Covid issues. Many low-income families are now homeschooling. It would not be equal to allow students who attend public schools on full time the right to participate in sports without cost and not provide the same for homeschool students who attend part time but are still being counted in the schools ADM. Sincerely, Wanda B. Lott

Last Name: Allen Locality: Chesterfield County

Yes to HB 583 - Extracurricular activities should never be withheld as punishment for school children simply because a family falls on hard times and/or must rely on EBT for food assistance. Virginians feed the incarcerated 3 meals a day, but not our children even 1 meals/day while in school. Makes NO sense. We could fund breakfast and lunch for ALL students, in public AND private schools on school days AND provide children the TIME to eat. Thanks for allowing me to opine on suggested improvements on this bill, and this bill needs a time-frame, soon, in addition. Can we make this effective July 1, 2022?

Last Name: VanDerhoff Locality: Springfield

I am writing to express my support for HB 583. I want to thank Delegate Roem for her commitment to end school lunch debt and the stigma and consequences that come from a student being unable to pay for a school lunch. This bill is another step in the path of ensuring students are not punished just because they can't afford a school meal. I urge you to vote in favor of this bill.

Last Name: Bentle Organization: Fairfax Education Assocation Locality: Fairfax, Herndon

I am a teacher in FCPS, and I personally support all of this bills. All of these bills are also part of Virginia Education Association's list of bills to support.

End of Comments