Public Comments for 01/27/2023 Education - Early Childhood/Innovation Subcommittee
HB1497 - Teachers; required to be compensated at or above national average.
Last Name: Hazzard Organization: Self Locality: Reston

First: HB 1461: Uniform System of Discipline for Disruptive Behavior -- Standards are important. However, please Vote NO on this bill. More work is needed to define the behaviors that are considered disruptive that would merit 3 strikes and you are out. Equally important, modify the bill to allocate resources ($ and training and staff) to ASSIST needy "disruptive" students and their families (including those with ADHD) rather than EXCLUDING them. Second: HB 1497: Fair Pay -- Please vote YES. It is an embarassment that VA teachers are so poorly compensated.

Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Karabinos Organization: VPEP (Virginia Public Education Partners) Locality: Chesterfield

VPEP Supports this proposal. Competitive teacher pay will help draw quality educators to this state from states who do not value Public Education. Failure to pass this will result in a potential drain of teaching talent to states that value educators.

Last Name: Patwardhan Locality: Fairfax County

1454 - are you serious? Anyone who remotely values having an educated society will oppose 1454. Good Lord. 2170 is also utterly ridiculous. I OPPOSE 2170, of course. This undermines students' ability to explore their extracurricular interests in the school setting. 1707 and 2432 - I OPPOSE these. These bills would threaten the safety of trans students. 1803 - I OPPOSE this. People need to trust educators to do their jobs, and not impose their beliefs on public schools. I SUPPORT 1497 and 1566. It is disgraceful how educators are treated in this country, and these bills would begin to rectify that. Thank you, Delegates Convirs-Fowler and Rasoul. I support 2388 and 2439. I SUPPORT 2177 as a foreign language teacher. I just wish more bills promoting foreign language education could be on the agenda.

Last Name: Manley Locality: Roanoke County

I am 100% in support of this bill. I have seen first hand the problems in my school. Teachers in the Commonwealth of Virginia aren't paid enough for their hard work, dedication, and passion when it comes to teaching the youth. At my school, last year we went through 5 or more teachers in the span of a year, and even though 5 doesn't seem like a big number, it is a huge number for the students who rely on educators every single day, not only for academics but for so much more. Teachers deserve so much more respect than we give them and they deserve to be paid a fair amount for everything that they do. Teachers do so much and yet receive so little, and it really isn't fair to not properly pay the people who educate and help the youth of the commonwealth. I hope that you will all vote in favor of this bill, because we have to get our teachers the pay they deserve.

Last Name: Kanoyton Organization: VA naacp Locality: Hampton

HB 1461 oppose see attachment Hb1497 support Hb1507 oppose Hb1731 support HB 1967 support Hb1980 Support Hb1982 support

Last Name: Peters Organization: Virginia Professional Educators Locality: Chesterfield

Good afternoon, Chairman & Committee members. My name is Vernon Peters and I am here representing Virginia Professional Educators (VPE). The Commonwealth of Virginia continues to have difficulty to attract new teachers to the education profession, but also to retain teachers, There are several factors that contribute to this, however, pay and benefits continue to be one of the major factors. New teachers are not entering the profession because of low pay and high student loan debit. Experienced teachers are leaving in order to take care of their families. For example, several members of our organization left the classroom to become truck drivers. By doing so they nearly doubled their annual salaries, Therefore, we strongly support HB1497 and any Bill that would help to increase pay and benefits for our Professional Educators.

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

HB1461 - This proposal is fair to all. HB1497 - Too expensive, major cities like Chesapeake/VB/Norfolk taxpayers can't afford more taxes to pay teachers. We need to pay for bus drivers. Get rid of 1/2 the administrative bloat, then you would have more $$$ to pay teachers, nurses and bus drivers. HB1507 - This is the main driver of the elections: constitutionally protect parent control. HB1691 - This would help with SRO's and given the fights in schools, is desparately needed. Please move to report. HB1704 - Needed now, given the rapes in LCPS. HB1733 - Not needed, they already can and do this. HB2021 - Always love to see parents provided with information. HB2264 - No more mission creep. Educate the kids: leave the psych stuff to another groups w/that focus. HB2405 - Excellent suggestion!

Last Name: Choate Organization: Virginia Public Education Partners Locality: Henrico

Please support HB 1497 and HB 1566. I took early retirement from Chesterfield Schools at the end of the ’20-’21 school year. Since that time I have seen countless friends and colleagues leave the profession at increasing rates whether they are retirement age or not. They have become scapegoats for Conservative “Parents’ Rights” movements fomented by national “think tanks’ and campaigns to stir up voters of a certain political bent. Daily job requirements and administrative asks have multiplied to the point that classroom teachers find themselves spending inordinate amounts of time documenting instead of helping and instructing students. Post-pandemic student needs and a dearth of resources mean there are more behavioral needs and challenges than ever before. While all of this is going on, the House Education Sub-committee recently voted not to report a simple Bill that would have guaranteed the most harried educators of all, our elementary teachers, a 30 minute unencumbered lunch. Most notable of all, the first action of our new Governor was to declare war on public education with 2 Executive Orders, one that negated current CDC guidance regarding masking at the time and another which sought to root out “inherently divisive concepts” in Virginia curricula with McCarthy-esque zeal!! Teachers earn about ¼ less than people in comparable professions, which is making it hard to attract and keep teachers and other school staff. As a result schools are short staffed. To attract teachers back to the classroom teacher pay must be increased. That is why it is important to vote for HB 1497 and HB 1566.

Last Name: Peabody Locality: Springfield

The average teacher pay in fxco is more than an editor at WAPO . The teacher works 195 days and the editor works 240+. It's Saturday and the editor is probably still working.

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

Last Name: Magnani Locality: Oakton

Please support Bill #1396! So important for the children of the Commonwealth of Virginia!

HB1566 - Public school teachers and other Standards of Quality-funded positions; compensation.
Last Name: Meade Locality: Midlothian

Teachers are our most precious resource! They deserve to be paid a competitive rate. They deserve WAY more than a competitive rate!

Last Name: COWLES Locality: Alexandria

Please support HB 1566, Compensation of public school teachers and other Standards of Quality funded positions. Attracting well-qualified teachers and staff to work in public schools is of utmost importance in ensuring that graduates of Virginia schools are prepared to enter college and/or the workforce. It could make the difference between a future of productive , self-supporting citizens or citizens who require the support of social services. There is no better investment of the Commonwealth's financial resources than in the ability of students.of students to function successfully in our advanced society. Let's devote a large share of the wealth of our state to a well educated future population.

Last Name: Coulter Organization: AAUW Locality: Henrico

Increase pay for Teachers

Last Name: Stephens Organization: Greater Richmond American Assoc. of University Women Locality: Richmond City

Teachers are some of the most important and influential people in our children's lives. Our children grow up to be the citizens of our state and country that will decide the success or failure of our democracy. A price tag cannot be put on this value. Teachers deserve our respect and a salary that recognizes this. How does Virginia expect to attract good business opportunities for its citizens if it does not have good schools? We need to put our money where we claim importance. We are hemorrhaging teachers at this time. Stop the bleeding and provide a salary that will keep our teachers.

Last Name: Narum Locality: Richmond

Let low-income students show their capability. Cover the fees for AP and IB exams.

Last Name: Narum Locality: Richmond

We ask a lot of our teachers. Let's be a state that attracts more of them.

Last Name: Evans Locality: Richmond

Please pay teachers above the national average. These teachers are breaking their backs everyday to educate the next generation of America leaders. It is disgraceful that teachers do not get paid hardly enough to function in daily life and afford the basic necessities. Teachers have enough to deal with in and outside of the classroom and so many are leaving for various reasons that need to be addressed, but one reason in particular is how little they are being paid. If America wants to invest in its future, then invest in the very people who are preparing our next generations: teachers.

Last Name: Coopersmith Locality: Richmond

I am FOR HB1566, Raising the average teacher pay above the national average. As the study "Teacher Retention Policy Coherence: An Analysis of Policies and Practices Practices Across Federal, State, and Division Levels" (VCU 2022) states, "There are a number of reasons for this shortage, ranging from meager salaries to difficult working conditions." Efforts to train and retain teachers in an era of inflation can show appreciation for a hard job that starts befor and ends well after the school bell rings. Teachers also have to pay their own bills, but unlike other positions, teachers have to pay for classroom supplies out of pocket, or fundraise for necessities. I have recently met several parents who would not pay for their child's college expenses if they went into education because of the pay. Certainly Virginia, classified as one of the wealthiest states, can do better.

Last Name: Graham Locality: Midlothian

I support paying teachers at a competitive rate, above the national average. We need to attract the very best teachers in VA! Please vote Yes!

Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Karabinos Organization: VPEP (Virginia Public Education Partners) Locality: Chesterfield

VPEP Supports this proposal Virginia Teachers should be appropriately compensated

Last Name: Patwardhan Locality: Fairfax County

1454 - are you serious? Anyone who remotely values having an educated society will oppose 1454. Good Lord. 2170 is also utterly ridiculous. I OPPOSE 2170, of course. This undermines students' ability to explore their extracurricular interests in the school setting. 1707 and 2432 - I OPPOSE these. These bills would threaten the safety of trans students. 1803 - I OPPOSE this. People need to trust educators to do their jobs, and not impose their beliefs on public schools. I SUPPORT 1497 and 1566. It is disgraceful how educators are treated in this country, and these bills would begin to rectify that. Thank you, Delegates Convirs-Fowler and Rasoul. I support 2388 and 2439. I SUPPORT 2177 as a foreign language teacher. I just wish more bills promoting foreign language education could be on the agenda.

Last Name: Haynes Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother to 5 children, some who are lgbtqia+ this is harmful to all of my children. My straight kids have more rights than my non straight children. How is this justifiable? At what point are all people created equal? Why am Ibfirced to have different survival conversations with each of my children because of laws like these? Why are my LGBTQIA+ kids worth less than my straight kids to my state government? At what point will you work to protect all of my children equally?

Last Name: Alderman Locality: Crozet

HB1396: Please don't funnel public school funds toward private schools. If people want to send their kids to private school, they can pay for it themselves. HB1397: My kids go to public schools. Vaccination requirements keep them and their fellow students safe. Vaccinations are not an individual choice; they're a matter of public health. HB1434: Let kids get called whatever name they want at school. It's neither a problem nor an urgent matter for the legislature. Picking on trans kids just for being trans seems like pretty vile bullying, especially on the part of supposedly responsible adults like the Legislature. HB2170: Kids shouldn't need their parents' permission to take part in a school program. Especially if having to get it might out them to parents who'd make their home lives needlessly miserable. HB1566: My kids have been blessed to have outstanding teachers. Paying teachers more is an excellent and worthy use of my tax dollars. HB2031: Sounds like a win-win for Virginia farmers and schools. An excellent idea.

Last Name: Choate Organization: Virginia Public Education Partners Locality: Henrico

Please support HB 1497 and HB 1566. I took early retirement from Chesterfield Schools at the end of the ’20-’21 school year. Since that time I have seen countless friends and colleagues leave the profession at increasing rates whether they are retirement age or not. They have become scapegoats for Conservative “Parents’ Rights” movements fomented by national “think tanks’ and campaigns to stir up voters of a certain political bent. Daily job requirements and administrative asks have multiplied to the point that classroom teachers find themselves spending inordinate amounts of time documenting instead of helping and instructing students. Post-pandemic student needs and a dearth of resources mean there are more behavioral needs and challenges than ever before. While all of this is going on, the House Education Sub-committee recently voted not to report a simple Bill that would have guaranteed the most harried educators of all, our elementary teachers, a 30 minute unencumbered lunch. Most notable of all, the first action of our new Governor was to declare war on public education with 2 Executive Orders, one that negated current CDC guidance regarding masking at the time and another which sought to root out “inherently divisive concepts” in Virginia curricula with McCarthy-esque zeal!! Teachers earn about ¼ less than people in comparable professions, which is making it hard to attract and keep teachers and other school staff. As a result schools are short staffed. To attract teachers back to the classroom teacher pay must be increased. That is why it is important to vote for HB 1497 and HB 1566.

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

Last Name: Magnani Locality: Oakton

Please support Bill #1396! So important for the children of the Commonwealth of Virginia!

HB1575 - Internet Safety Advisory Council; powers and duties.
Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Jones Organization: Virginia Moose Lodges Locality: Richmond

To the Education - Early Childhood/Innovation Subcommittee. I am here in the committee room and would like to speak if permitted. I am writing on behalf of the Virginia Moose Association (VMA) to respectfully ask you to vote YES on HB1575, which will be coming before the Subcommittee on Early Childhood/Innovation today. HB1575 would have the Department of Education, in conjunction with law enforcement agencies and internet safety specialists, develop a program for internet safety protocols in Virginia’s Public Schools. The VMA and its parent organization, Moose International, has long supported educating youth about the dangers that social media usage, cyberbullying, and volunteering personal information can pose to their physical safety and mental health. The Safe Surfin Foundation, which was created by Sheriff Mike Brown (Bedford – retired) is one of the programs that VMA and Moose International support, partially with the use of charitable gaming proceeds. Virginia has 83 Moose Lodges and over 66,000 members throughout the Commonwealth. The Moose is one of the largest, and most charitable, fraternal service organizations in Virginia and the country. Your support of our efforts on behalf of the safety of children in our local lodge communities is greatly appreciated. Please vote to support this important legislation, HB1575. Respectfully yours, David W. Jones Virginia Moose Association 804-228-4502 202-439-2631 (cell)

Last Name: Haynes Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother to 5 children, some who are lgbtqia+ this is harmful to all of my children. My straight kids have more rights than my non straight children. How is this justifiable? At what point are all people created equal? Why am Ibfirced to have different survival conversations with each of my children because of laws like these? Why are my LGBTQIA+ kids worth less than my straight kids to my state government? At what point will you work to protect all of my children equally?

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

Last Name: Nicholls Locality: Chesapeake

HB1507: I support the constitutional rights of parents to direct childrens' education. HB1575: I support Delegate Walkers SWAT bill. HB2269: I support using these pandemic relief funds for schools.

Last Name: Magnani Locality: Oakton

Please support Bill #1396! So important for the children of the Commonwealth of Virginia!

HB1803 - Public elementary and secondary schools; certain opportunities for parental involvement.
Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Utterback Organization: Actual Parents in Virginia Locality: Prince William County

Overall I agree with this bill. Schools should be transparent with the curriculum and parents should have the opportunity to review any educational materials prior to classroom use. I also agree that parents should be able to opt out of any data collection. I am concerned that this bill does not have an opt-in provision for any explicit material. Consent should not be assumed.

Last Name: Karabinos Organization: VPEP (Virginia Public Education Partners) Locality: Chesterfield

VPEP Opposes this Proposal VPEP Trusts our Librarians. Virginia law currently still lists any mention of homosexuality as "sexually explicit" This law could be used to remove all Queer literature from school libraries. Many classic books like "1984" have sex as part of the story. This law paves the way for a puritanical purging of books on ideological grounds disguised as a "decency" sweep. Don't tell my kid what they can read!

Last Name: Patwardhan Locality: Fairfax County

1454 - are you serious? Anyone who remotely values having an educated society will oppose 1454. Good Lord. 2170 is also utterly ridiculous. I OPPOSE 2170, of course. This undermines students' ability to explore their extracurricular interests in the school setting. 1707 and 2432 - I OPPOSE these. These bills would threaten the safety of trans students. 1803 - I OPPOSE this. People need to trust educators to do their jobs, and not impose their beliefs on public schools. I SUPPORT 1497 and 1566. It is disgraceful how educators are treated in this country, and these bills would begin to rectify that. Thank you, Delegates Convirs-Fowler and Rasoul. I support 2388 and 2439. I SUPPORT 2177 as a foreign language teacher. I just wish more bills promoting foreign language education could be on the agenda.

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

Last Name: Eubanks Locality: Suffolk

I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote.

HB1816 - Standards of Learning; instruction on dangers and victims of communism.
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Last Name: Carter Locality: King William

Communism and Socialism are a constant threat to the future of our country. The dangers and historically accurate details of the dangers and rise of Communism and Socialism need to be taught to all Virginians. Those lessons should include Venezuela, China, Vietnam, N. Korea, USSR (Soviet Union), Nazi Germany and the include the extremist groups and the atrocities committed by Communists and Socialists. It should also include being able to identify the methodology of indoctrination tactics used. We need to stop teaching kids to pass Standards of Learning Tests and concentrate on real life needs and training.

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Last Name: Jones Locality: Richmond

It looks like most of these public comments are spam or unrelated... unfortunate for you all to have to sift through. I am also here to raise attention to the dangers of capitalism, and believe that if dangers of communism are addressed it is only fair to address the dangers and death toll of capitalism. Hundreds of millions have died under capitalism in this country and the world. If you haven't looked into it I suggest you do, it is eye opening. Critical thinking is key for us and for our students! Even when it is hard to read. Examples: Native American genocide in the name of "gold god and glory" (capitalism). According to research by University of London, 56 million indigenous people over about 100 years died. Population relocation, forced labor, dietary change, and other harms done to Indigenous people “were destructive in and of themselves in complex ways and often operated with disease to reduce American Indian populations" according to Clark Spencer Larsen and Thornton.

Last Name: Jones Locality: Richmond

oppose hb1816 Hundreds of millions have died under capitalism, just in the 20th century and 21st century. Under CAPITALISM approximately 20 million people die every year. Students should be exposed to this knowledge as well to develop critical thinking skills and a well rounded understanding of consequences of all economic systems. This paints a one sided picture that makes it seem like there are no victims of capitalism, when in fact there are millions that would not have been harmed or died if not for capitalism. We have the ability to solve world hunger, there is enough money and enough food. But it has not happened because it is not profitable to do so under capitalism. 1/3 of global food production is thrown away and a person starves to death every 15 seconds. The list includes colonial wars, anti-communist campaigns, ethnic conflicts, famines or malnutrition, starvation, lack of access to clean water, lack of access to shelter, lack of access to medicine, malaria, the Irish famine, Indigenous genocide, the Great Depression, Jim Crow, and the Holocaust.

Last Name: Spangenberg Locality: Bedford County

oppose HB1816 Students should be provided the opportunity to think critically about different economic systems. There is not a proposed "victims of capitalism day".... although it is clear that millions have been harmed by capitalism, where the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Deaths occur because of lack of access to affordable healthcare, for example.

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Last Name: Bender Organization: Parents of school age children Locality: Fairfax County

Teaching about the dangers and victims of communism and socialism is essential for our students to understand. These communist governments from the 20th and 21st centuries, have killed the most people. The three worst communist governments, Russia, China and Cambodia, killed their own citizens and not during wartime. A conservative estmate on lives lost to communism is over 100,000,000 (one hundred million) human beings. This horrible blight on humanity is far worse than any religiously motivated murders by at least eight (8) orders of magnitude. It is incomprhensible this level of destruction. This is clearly as important if not more important than teaching about the Civil War, World War I and WWII. The devastation communism, and its sister, socialism, have wraught on humankind is the singular most significant catastrophy to hit human beings in the 20th century. It's resurgence in the 21st century can be due, in some part, to the ignorance of our younger adults and students. Schools and universities ignore these inconvienent truths, for what might be considered sinister reasons. Knowledge is power. We need this knowledge to have the power to prevent this from happening again. How can one of the world's worst atrocities be ignored? Those who forget history are destined to repeat it. On a similar vein, down grading and criticizing the political system of the United States, while not perfect, is a great lie that refuses to recognize our accomplishments as the greatest nation in the world. No other nation has the degree of freedom of thought, speech, religion and success. Our nation leads the world in innovation. Capitalism has lifted more people out of poverty than any other government on the face of the earth!

Last Name: Giorgio Locality: Surry

I support getting rid of daylight saving time. Studies have already been done. Use those and make it happen. Socialism is killing our country because radical leftists teach it to our youth. We must educate our children and all Americans how destructive socialism is and shut down those who support it. Clean energy sounds nice but not if it destroys the environment around it such as windmills killing birds and solar farms poisoning the ground. So what really is “clean” energy. DC should NEVER become a state. It was made a district on purpose.

Last Name: Turner Locality: Isle of Wight

HB2310 In Isle of Wight County, the town and county partnered to provide sewage to some new rich housing developments less than 1 mile from our much older established community of Battery Park, on the James and Pagan Rivers. Our village has notorious issues with the land not perking properly and many homeowners have been forced to install very expensive ugly sewage systems with much of it above ground. We have waited patiently for our turn but it appears it will never come. This would also improve the quality of the tidal waters we live so close to.

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Last Name: Woods Organization: My self Locality: 23464

I do not support a Convention of States. I do not appreciate my legislators supporting such ch legislation without proper input from people that actually live in her district.

Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Utterback Organization: Actual Parents in Virginia Locality: Prince William County

It really should be on the 5th of November. It’s easier to remember. Excerpts from Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn “The Gulag Archipelago” and Vaclav Havel’s “Power of the Powerless” should be required for high school students.

Last Name: Karabinos Organization: VPEP (Virginia Public Education Partners) Locality: Chesterfield

VPEP Opposes this proposal While several regimes that have called themselves "Communist" Are responsible for horrific behavior, the common thread across 20th and 21st century atrocity is authoritarianism, not Communism. Authoritarian regimes come in many flavors Communist, Fascist, Autocratic, and Oligopolic. To single out Communism seems to ignore the millions of victims of these other Authoritarians. This is Red-Scare moral panic and it has no place in the Commonwealth.

Last Name: Haynes Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother to 5 children, some who are lgbtqia+ this is harmful to all of my children. My straight kids have more rights than my non straight children. How is this justifiable? At what point are all people created equal? Why am Ibfirced to have different survival conversations with each of my children because of laws like these? Why are my LGBTQIA+ kids worth less than my straight kids to my state government? At what point will you work to protect all of my children equally?

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

Last Name: Eubanks Locality: Suffolk

I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote.

HB1884 - Students with disabilities; assessment frequency.
Last Name: Asip Organization: Virginia Council of Administrators of Special Education (VCASE) Locality: Powhatan

VCASE supports HB1884. VCASE has long been an advocate for flexibility in the number, format, and administration of Standards of Learning tests for students with disabilities. We ask the subcommittee to pass this legislation that will provide opportunities for students with disabilities to master and be able to demonstrate achievement on these high stakes student assessments. Thanks to Delegate Wampler for bringing this bill forward.

Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Haynes Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother to 5 children, some who are lgbtqia+ this is harmful to all of my children. My straight kids have more rights than my non straight children. How is this justifiable? At what point are all people created equal? Why am Ibfirced to have different survival conversations with each of my children because of laws like these? Why are my LGBTQIA+ kids worth less than my straight kids to my state government? At what point will you work to protect all of my children equally?

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

HB1909 - Public elementary and secondary schools; establishment of opportunity classrooms.
Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

HB2052 - School boards; policies for excusing students from attendance at school, religious reasons.
Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Mirza Locality: Virginia Beach

A standard policy across the state will reduce confusion for both parents and the school and make it easier to plan ahead without fear of penalty. This will also help create a sense of inclusiveness for ALL kids regardless of religious affiliation.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: El-Adle Organization: Muslim Community of Tidewater Locality: Norfolk

Dear Respected Delegates, I'm writing in support of Delegate Glass' amendment to allow the observance of religious instruction and holiday as an excused school absence for our children. As Muslims, we celebrate several holidays based on lunar calendar. Each year, therefore, the exact timing of our celebrations may vary. Many Muslim parents struggle already to inculcate the importance of these holidays for their children. Allowing our children an excused absence from school permits both children and their parents to celebrate these essential holidays with a greater sense of joy. And just as importantly, this bill demonstrates the equity and justice of their public schooling. Sincerely, Amro El-Adle Assistant Professor of Business Analytics Strome College of Business Old Dominion University

Last Name: williams Organization: One Umnmah Dawah Project Locality: Richmond

What is religious instruction and why you should vote for it. By definition, religious instruction is where a child will learn about a particular religion that is not related to a broader education of religious thought, belief and expression. Religious holidays which are already in the state law are different because they are set aside for specific days of religious observance. synonyms: holy day. (Ex. Christmas and Easter) Under the current system, Christian and Jewish children can enjoy their holidays along with participating in their religious instructions on the weekend i.e. going to Church and the synagogue to receive as stated above a broader education of religious thought, belief and expression. This amendment will allow children of different faiths whose days for religious instruction are not on Saturday and Sunday to achieve their own personal development and an understanding of the spiritual, moral, social & cultural questions in their lives.(Ex. The Muslim day for religious instruction is Friday at the Masjid and the Hindus go to their Temple) Thank you for your time in this matter. Lawrence Williams

Last Name: Hagan Locality: Greene County

Hb1707/2432 - Trans and Gender nonconforming children deserve safety and respect. By outing them to their parents you are putting them at greater risk of abuse at home, and suicidal ideation. This is not in the best interest of the child in any way. HB2502 School time is for school not for religious activities. If this exception is made, then I assume that it will be made for a Muslim class or a Satanic Club as well.

Last Name: Woltz Organization: 1Ummah Dawah Project Locality: Norfolk

Speaking as a practicing Muslim this bill allows our children to be excused to participate in our two holidays, and would allow our children to participate in Friday Prayers, then go back to school.

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

HB2170 - Public school pupil participation on certain teams and in certain clubs; parental consent.
Last Name: Marsh Locality: Spring Valley

Forced outing????? REALLY???? This is cruel and wrong!!! You people have better things to do than attack and endanger LGBTQIA youth! Stop policing kids' sexual orientations and identities!! Seriously. This bullying has to STOP!!

Last Name: Manderfield Locality: Charlottesville

I oppose Bill 2170, which wants to force school employees to out students. Not only is this dangerous for these students, who may face abuse, homelessness, or increased mental stress if outed to unsupportive parents and/or family, it is unethical for school staff. It is against the code of ethics for many school staff providers, such as school counselors and school psychologists, to out LGBTQ+ students to parents against their will. Additionally, it is against Title IX, which is federal policy. Please focus on actually helping students in this state be successful adults over playing into pointless and inflammatory culture war rhetoric.

Last Name: Barlett Locality: Warrenton

Hello, I am writing in today to comment about the forced trans outing bills that are to be presented at today's hearing - HB 1707, HB 2170, and HB 2432. Specifically, I wish to argue that they do not be passed, as I and many others believe that, while these bills may have been conceived with the intention of protecting children, that they in fact will result in the opposite. These children are at the age when they are just beginning to discover themselves and grapple with their own identity - whether that be concerning gender or otherwise - and as adults who these children look up to,, it's our responsibility to offer support, comfort, and care in this difficult time of their lives. It has too often been the case that transgender students face bullying, embarrassment, and rejection from their fellow peers for their identity - sometimes, even violence. Some children may not have a supportive home, and do not feel as though they have anyone else to turn to for care and support. As a result, some may choose to confide in select teachers or counselors that they trust will understand their struggles. This is entirely natural - we want our children to have faith that when they go to school, they have places where they feel they can be safe. However, if these teachers and counselors were required by law to then provide information about the child's identity and personal struggles, presented to them in confidence, then they would have no-one to trust in. How is a child expected to place their trust in an authority figure and be honest with them when it's likely anything they say will be forwarded to their parents and the rest of the school district? Do we trust believe it is a good idea to demand these teachers betray their students' trust? Of course, this also makes it far more likely that the knowledge of a transgender student's identity would spread into the student body itself, potentially placing them at even greater risk of discrimination and bullying. A child in this situation, without suppotive parents,, teachers, or peers, would understandably feel isolated and alone, believing they have no-one that would care for them. In this stage of a child's life, this sort of outcasting would be incredibly emotionally and mentally damaging. Why do we believe it is acceptable to resign our children to this? Now for some of you here, you may believe a child identifying as transgender is a danger enough on its own, and that these kids need to be "set right" for their own health and safety, which presumably are what these bills are for. However, consider this - if this "setting right" results in the child becoming distrustful towards the authority figures that are meant to be looking out for them, and facing bullying, harassment, and social isolation - is it truly in their best interests? Thank you for your time, and have a good day.

Last Name: Cannon Locality: Charlottesville

HB 1707 and 2170 - This is discrimination and harming students of being involved in sports, and their identity to be who they are as they participate. Putting this pressure on teachers and coaches is outside their job roles. A child’s identity is nobody’s business but their own. I do not support this bill. HB - 2432: As a resident in counseling, it is my duty to cause no harm to my clients and to keep confidentiality, even with minors. The only time we, as counseling professionals, break confidentiality is if they are a threat to themselves or others. If we suspect parents are non-affirming, this is a risk to our client’s safety and psychological health. I do not support this bill.

Last Name: Sharpe Locality: Henrico

I do not believe forced outing is safe for children. Children deserve a right to privacy. Children deserve freedom to choose for themselves how they would like to be represented. Forced outing is bullying and serves no purpose except to perpetuate stereotypes, homophobia and encourages isolation and bullying from peers and teachers. It could also lead to mistreatment at home due to parental homophobia.

Last Name: Garrick Locality: Fredericksburg

I and many others oppose this bill because it is discriminatory in nature. It is forced outing of students based on subjective suspicion and is nothing more than profiling. Sure, provide counseling for students if you feel that it is necessary, but it should be easily available to all students regardless of gender identity. There is no reason for this bill, it is a waste of time, and is a thinly veiled attempt to force queer children out and discourage queer children being open about their identity for fear of being forced into counseling or persecuted by their families. VOTE NO on this discriminatory bill.

Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Wilson Locality: Newport News

I strongly oppose this bill. Trans youth deserve respect.

Last Name: Allen Organization: Equality Virtinia Locality: Flint Hill

We should not force schools to "out" students to their parents. This can endanger the student and create distrust between the student and faculty. Young people need to feel safe as they explore their gender and sexual orientation.

Last Name: Smith Locality: Prince William County

This is a solution in search of the problem. It's unnecessary and doesn't serve any educational purposes. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. You shouldn't need a court order to support your child. That is the antithesis of protecting parental autonomy. It also ties teachers' hands, who want to be supportive of their kids and create a welcoming classroom for all students. If a child feels safe enough to come out to a teacher, that is a testament to that teacher's ability to create an environment where people feel safe and respected. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive.

Last Name: McIntire Locality: Harrisonburg

Both of these bills will endanger the lives of members of the LGBTQ community. It is utterly irresponsible to propose them to satisfy your personal point of view. Saying parents want this is a red herring. Parents do not want their vulnerable children legislated against. As a parent, I am infuriated that politicians are using the positions that have been entrusted to them to promote bigoted ideas that marginalize our children. We do not need a nanny state. My husband and I are more than capable of parenting our children and do not require your intervention. We also do not want or need other parents to demand that rules they would apply to their own children apply to mine. It is unfortunate that those parents have such poor parenting skills and relationships with their children that they need to turn to politicians to intervene in their parenting. This is outside of your purview.

Last Name: Olex Locality: Ashland

I want my children to grow up and be confident young adults. They are welcome to attend any meeting and support any cause that they are passionate about. It’s dumbfounds me that this is basically being skewed something of a hate group.

Last Name: Callahan Locality: Portsmouth

Outing anyone, regardless of age, is potentially lethal, one that tends to bring violence to those who are LGBTQ. It is not something that anyone should redisclose without permission, and with you it runs the risk of causing abuse, neglect, homelessness, or suicide, and we should not be changing our laws to risk a youth’s physical or mental health. As a mental health provider specialized in this area, it is the ultimate risk and one that I cannot ethically or morally take. We need to be acting in concert with what mental and medical health experts recommend, affirming care, which means not redisclosing someone’s identity to others, especially without permission. Allowing youth to participate in clubs, sports, and performing arts without explicit permission from parents is also essential to character formation, gives them control, of which they have little as minors, and may, in fact, help save their lives. Please allow youth to participate in school-sanctioned groups and activities without the burden of denial of participation by parents.

Last Name: Fineout Locality: Charlottesville

Hateful, unfounded in fact or any intelligible sense, dangerous. This kind of disgusting oversight into LGBTQ+ students' identities has no place in any modern society, and certainly doesn't belong in Virginia. It's extremely embarrassing to have neighbors so ignorant that bills like these could even make it onto paper, let alone to committee. Why not try reading some of the scientific and social literature instead of making up reasons to spew hate onto your neighbors? Seriously, get a life.

Last Name: Carter Locality: Mechanicsville

I oppose these bills as they purposely are designed to intimidate, coerce, and out all students who identify as LGBTQIA and also any student who is an ally to LGBTQIA students. As a lifelong resident of Virginia, I have first-hand and personal knowledge of how difficult it is to being in a school setting as a Queer individual without these measures. So, I feel especially confident that making these bills law in the state of Virginia will absolutely cause irreparable harm to incredibly vulnerable students. Further, these bills are framed as parental rights issues, but in truth, they are designed to discriminate based on personal religious beliefs, which is unconstitutional due to the First Amendment and the Establishment Clause. You should remember that suicide rates amount LGBTQIA children are not due to them identifying as LGBTQIA, its due to how they are treated. It is the second leading cause of suicides in young people....45% of these youths have seriously considered suicide per the Trevor Projects 2022 survey. Why would you want to increase that? Why would you want to even add a tiny bit of influence in that regard? These bills are cruel and the students that will be affected will be put in seriously dangerous situations. There are many, many, many parents that would intentionally harm their children to "remove the sin of homosexuality", whether it be physical abuse, emotional abuse, or spiritual abuse - this is proven to cause lifelong damage. These bills are not for parental rights. They are to shame students who do not identify or present as straight, period. They would remove any sense of safety for those who find it in the school setting, destroy trust between school staff and students and impose an unconstitutional discriminatory law to the very place that students are sent to not only be educated, but to find out who they are. You need to remember that these students grow up to become adults who contribute to our society. That will pay taxes, buy homes and, yes, in some cases, have children of their own. Do you think that they will forget these actions? That there was a concerted effort to intentionally harm them? I don't and history will not be kind.

Last Name: Sube Organization: Transgender Assistance Program Virginia Locality: Virginia Beach

HBs 1707, 2170, 2432 would force school districts to “out” students to their parents. Every LGBTQ person’s journey is unique, and for many, their discovery of self can be a sensitive time. A child’s decision to disclose parts of their identity should remain solely in their hands. Some provisions in these bills would force school officials to betray the trust of students by demanding they “out” students to parents, even if the student is not ready. Pushing school staff to disclose deeply private information to parents breaches trust and creates an uncomfortable school environment for LGBTQ+ youth. This effort to “out” children is unethical and unenforceable. The adults that work in schools are there to educate and protect children, not police their identities and serve as agents for a discriminatory political agenda. These bills would destroy trust between students and school staff. While we agree that important information about a child’s welfare should not be withheld from their parental guardians, we are suspicious of provisions that do not consider the consent of the minor in question. Trust between school staff and students is necessary to provide adequate mental-health support. If students feel that their communications are not confidential, they will be less likely to disclose important information to their school counselors and teachers. This legislation endangers LGBTQ+ students, who already face high rates of bullying, harassment, and isolation. LGBTQ students who lack support and face harassment and discrimination at school experience increased isolation, depression, and risk of suicide and are more likely than their peers to miss school, often in an effort to avoid abuse. These negative experiences can have serious long-term negative impacts on these students’ health, education, and well-being.

Last Name: McHenry Locality: Parksley

So a young person must have written parental consent before joining any school-sponsored sport, team, or club, or any sport, team, or club that meets on school property. Now you say that apparently the young person is already participating in said sport, team, or club without that written permission and the parents must be belatedly informed. That already does not make sense. Let these young people grow into tomorrow's leaders- our future- without political agendas of today. The young person you are targeting today could be the person who cures cancer tomorrow. Stop the discrimination!

Last Name: Belle-Isle Locality: Alexandria

I oppose the above bills regarding informing parents of a child's LGBTQ status for the following reasons: • These bills would force school districts to “out” students to their parents. o Every LGBTQ person’s journey is unique, and for many, their discovery of self can be a sensitive time. A child’s decision to disclose parts of their identity should remain solely in their hands. o Some provisions in these bills would force school officials to betray the trust of students by demanding they “out” students to parents, even if the student is not ready. Pushing school staff to disclose deeply private information to parents breaches trust and creates an uncomfortable school environment for LGBTQ+ youth. o This effort to “out” children is unethical and unenforceable. The adults that work in schools are there to educate and protect children, not police their identities and serve as agents for a discriminatory political agenda. • These bills would destroy trust between students and school staff. o While we agree that important information about a child’s welfare should not be withheld from their parental guardians, we are suspicious of provisions that do not consider the consent of the minor in question. o Trust between school staff and students is necessary to provide adequate mental-health support. If students feel that their communications are not confidential, they will be less likely to disclose important information to their school counselors and teachers. • This legislation endangers LGBTQ+ students, who already face high rates of bullying, harassment, and isolation. o LGBTQ students who lack support and face harassment and discrimination at school experience increased isolation, depression, and risk of suicide and are more likely than their peers to miss school, often in an effort to avoid abuse. o These negative experiences can have serious long-term negative impacts on these students’ health, education, and well-being. As the parents of a recently graduated high school student who has many LGBTQ friends, I can tell you what havoc implementation of these harmful practices would have on children and educators. None of you are experts in child health, child psychology or education and you should not be promoting these types of harmful and destructive practices. If you were experts in these areas, you would know what you are proposing in these bills is wrong and bad for kids.

Last Name: Sprout Organization: Equality Virginia Locality: Rockville

I strenuously OPPOSE all of these bills. They impose value judgements on students, teachers and administrators that are not the purview of the state but of youth and their families.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Weston Locality: Falls Church

These are harmful to children. And should absolutely not be passed. Do your jobs instead of trying to discriminate against kids.

Last Name: Tucker Locality: Hanover County

Please vote NO on these bills.

Last Name: Carr Locality: Richmond

I oppose these bills. Please scrap them.

Last Name: Fontaine-Rasaiah Organization: Pride Liberation Project Locality: McLean

I strongly oppose HB 1707, HB 2170, and HB 2432. They limit the freedoms and liberties of students, taking away their support from educated adults. As a senior at Langley High School, as a student speaking for students, we do not want these bills in our schools!

Last Name: Luong Locality: Manassas, VA

My name is Robert Luong. I grew up in Centreville, Virginia. I attended Liberty Middle School & Centreville High School. I graduated from Centreville Highschool in 2012. Sometime between the ages of 12-14 years old. I remembered I had gone to a school counselor speaking on the issue of my mother experiencing mental illness and the fact I had felt unsafe in my home. I also stated that I was a homosexual while crying in fear. I told my high school counselor in confidence. That then resulted in a call home to my mother. Telling her I was a homosexual. Which then resulted in an argument with her. Then her calling the local police department over the issue of my sexuality, not my mother's mental illness. When I left the house in order to attempt to run away in broad daylight after the result of the argument. I had the great opportunity of meeting a police officer. Who had attempted to offer to quote "save my soul" with prayer. Which then resulted in me calling the local police department requesting an atheist police officer due to violations of my first amendment rights. I was lucky the 911 operator had empathized with my situation. Then a second police officer arrived on the scene in an attempt to diffuse the situation without religious intervention and spiritual counsel. There were many instances I felt unsafe. My mother had been threatening me with homelessness since I was 8 years old. There were many where I feared for my physical safety. My mother never hurt me but she would break into my room and enter my personal space to scream at me with hostility and aggressiveness close to my face, and person. For those of you who do not know Casa Ruby did not exist until 2012. My mother believes that the government was stalking her, tapping her phone, the internet, and her car. I was also physically assaulted while attending school by other students which would lead me to get into physical altercations as a means of self-defense. he educators often looked the other way as did the administrators because there were no protections for LGBTQ+ students in the student handbook. If students can not trust their peers, their educators, or their local police department. Who can they trust? The school did not bother to call home because my mother became difficult to deal with. I truly struggled. Between my home life, and physical altercations within the school. My grades suffered tremendously. School should not be treated like a prison. Please protect LGBTQ+ students. LGBTQ+ youth deserve housing, affirmation, respect, and understanding. When we take away their safety we are endangering their lives.

Last Name: Croom Locality: Arlington

I write to urge you and your colleagues to vote down HB 1707, 2432, and 2170. HB 1707 and 2432 will, in no uncertain terms, cause greater abuse, neglect, and mistreatment of queer youth in Virginia. These two bills require teachers--some of the most important people in children's lives--to "out" them to their parents if they suspect a schoolchild is trans or otherwise gender nonconforming. Whatever your politics and perceptions of queer people, surely we can agree our schools are a sacred place where children should feel safe and included; there will be plenty of time for division and prejudice once they grow up. These two bills are plainly an attack on our Commonwealth's children, driven by a political extremism that is willing to drag our children into a national circus of fearmongering and hate. The bills' sponsors may make contrived arguments about "protecting" children against some formless danger; they know they are arguing in bad faith. You all know it. I trust that you ran for office and came to Richmond because you all genuinely want to improve our Commonwealth. I implore you to see that these bills do the opposite, and hurt the children most in need of our help. Work today to protect them: End these bills. HB 2170 is subtler than the first two. It uses a process requirement to hide its true purpose and effect. On the surface, requiring parents to agree to their child participating in extracurricular activities does not seem so onerous or unreasonable. And yet, it would have the effect of ensuring no students could attend a meeting of a gay-straight alliance or similar group without fear of a teacher reporting it to their parents. Even for students from loving homes, such an implicit threat could easily scare them off and prevent them from seeking out important help and education as they try to learn more about who they are. For students from abusive homes, reporting on their attendance would be a very real threat to their physical safety. Please, do not weaponize our schools and harm our children's education and wellbeing to serve a political agenda. This is not the work you were sent to Richmond to do. It is, simply put, bullying. It is behavior we should have outgrown when we were schoolchildren ourselves.

Last Name: Tillack Organization: parent of 5th grader Locality: Charlottesville

Sharing private or personal information about a person without their consent is not something anyone should have to experience, especially LGBTQ students whose wellness and safety could be compromised by the actions of teachers, staff, or administrators. How a person feels about themselves or the way they identify should not be subject to a form of harassment known as outing. When a person is outed, personal or private information is shared with their control or consent. When straight people have autonomy over their own identities, and LGBTQ don’t, this is discrimination. Targeting one group of people specifically for their identity is discrimination. Outing children without consent is putting minors at risk for harmful repercussions. Gender policing by teachers breaks trust between students and educators. LGBTQ students deserve to feel safe at school and at home. LGBTQ students deserve to have their privacy and personal information respected and protected by adults in school. I am the parent of an LGBTQ student, and if a school administrator felt the need to out my child to me, I would have serious questions about why that adult was discussing my child’s personal information without my child’s consent or mine. Neither my child’s teachers, school administrators, or the VDOE or the state of VA have the right to publicly communicate personal or private information about my child without my child’s consent or mine. If the governing bodies of the state of VA believe that there is something wrong with my healthy, happy, and much loved LGBTQ child, then I ask the governing bodies to carefully examine their own beliefs and harmful prejudice and biases. I would hope that my child might be offered a safe and supportive environment in Virginia schools rather than one that demeans and undermines the wellbeing of my young student by outing them, which is targeted harassment and discrimination. If my child can experience a safe learning environment, then my child can accomplish the work all students are in school to do, which is to learn and grow. Please treat our amazing, wonderful, and loved, LGBTQ kids with respect and dignity. Let them pursue their educational goals without fear and harassment. Let them thrive. Please stop scaring me, as a parent, with the intention to harm my LGBTQ student. I deserve to know my LGBTQ child is safe in Virginia schools. Thank you, Cate Tillack

Last Name: Hurlburt Locality: GAINESVILLE

As the parent of a graduate of Virginia public schools and a current student, I'm asking you to vote against HB1707, HB2170 and HB2432. All students should feel safe as themselves at school.

Last Name: Utterback Organization: Actual Parents in Virginia Locality: Prince William County

As an actual parent (not an activist) I am appalled that this even needs to be said. School staff should not withhold ANY information from parents. If a child is at an increased risk for self-harm, running away or suicide the parents need to be informed of the situation. It also should not be assumed that a student is reluctant to tell their parents because the parents are abusive. Using a child’s birth name and biological gender should never be considered abuse. It is also completely normal for teens to withdrawal from their parents. Rather than encouraging students to lie, schools should be facilitating dialogue. As mandated reporters, school officials who see “misgendering” as abuse need an updated training on how to properly identify child abuse.

Last Name: Hellerman Locality: Nelson county

Teachers are often the only adults in whom students can trust to share their true authentic selves. Passing these bills will directly and negatively impact the bonds of trust between students and teachers. As a former teacher, I valued the honestly and trust my students put in me. These bills will harm our young adults when they are most vulnerable and need support, not outing.

Last Name: Scardo Locality: Blacksburg

Hello I am a Trans/Gender Non-Conforming student in Montgomery County, and I am opposed to these bills (1707, 2170, and 2432) These bills will harm me, my friends, and every trans student in the Virginia Public School System Thanks for taking time out of your day to read this, A Transgender Student

Last Name: Merrill Locality: Ashland

HB 1707 & HB 2432 -- When home isn't safe, school should be. For their own survival, there must be safe places for LGBT kids to exist freely as themselves and that should be the public schools. When LGBT kids choose not to tell their parents of their journey, they do so for a reason. Outing any LGBT person is a terrible practice. But for kids, it's life threatening. That 1707 is proposing an amendment that will increase youth suicides, to a law that aims to PREVENT suicide, is a gross misunderstanding of how all of this works. HB 2170 - There already exists a process to give parent permission for school sports (in the physical forms each year). School activities are a great place for students to explore all sorts of interests -- even interests parent don't approve of -- poetry, arts, different political party clubs, and even LGBT clubs. This is what school is for, for students to discover who they are. Students must be able to freely explore a variety of school activities without worries about parents. Also, why all of this extra administrative tedium for our already under resources schools?? How do you envision they would add on this responsibility? The party of small government? Not really.

Last Name: Stromberg Organization: Pride Liberation Project Locality: Richmond

I’m an LBGTQ+ youth, and I OPPOSE HB1707, HB 2170, and HB2432. Education should preach safety and acceptance, and I should not have to worry about laying trust in people that will be required to out me to my parents. This will cause real harm to people who come from homophobic and transphobic households, who look to school as their one safe zone to be who they are and find a community in which they are accepted. These bills stomp on safety, and on the autonomy we are told we get when we enter the public school system. I urge you to take a closer look into these bills, and to get rid of them.

Last Name: DiMartino Locality: Chesterfield, Midlothian

Myself and my friends would all be harmed because of these bills. I plead to the members of the committee not to let HB2432, HB2170, and HB1707 pass. It targets us directly. Our humanity is in question here, and I don't want to have to go into hiding and pretend to be someone I'm not. School is the one place where I feel really at home and respected, and to tear that away is ruthless and completely amoral. Please don't let them pass. For your future, and ours, and for everyone else writing here.

Last Name: Underwood Locality: Midlothian, VA

As a mother, I firmly OPPOSE HB 2170. Both of my children are involved in multiple clubs and school activities. I want them to have the freedom to explore different interests in the safe environment that school provides - requiring my written permission takes away flexibility and exploration that I want them to have. The school already requires parent permission for activities where safety is a concern (such as trying out for a school sport, using woodworking tools to build a set for the school play, or going on a field trip). Requiring parent permission for general clubs and activities does not make my student safer at school and may make other students unsafe at home. In schools that have this type of policy, notifications are disproportionately used in relation to LGBTQ+ inclusive clubs. This type of notification may prevent students from accessing a supportive space. They may have unsupportive parents and the club is the only safe place they have access to. Or, like many youth, they may be exploring their gender and sexuality in an age and developmentally appropriate way and not yet be ready to have a discussion with their parents. My children are not trans, so you may wonder why I am speaking against this bill. I believe all children deserve to attend schools where they are safe, supported, and included. Bills like this do irreparable harm to LGBTQ+ youth and that is unacceptable to me. More selfishly, I want my children to feel safe and supported in school and that cannot happen when any group of students is targeted and excluded.

Last Name: Hebner Locality: Henrico

I urge you to please reject all legislation that would force school districts to out trans children to their parents. As an educator and as someone who was once a queer kid, I trust trans children to have important conversations with their parents when they should. Children are the ones who have the information to determine whether it's safe for them to come out at home. It is not the job of schools to intervene in family relationships by outing children who have not made their own decision to come out to their parents. However, it is the job of schools to provide children with a safe and respectful environment that supports their learning. These bills would prevent teachers and other school staff from doing that part of their jobs. Unconscionably, these bills would force schools to betray the trust of children who have been out at school because they thought it was safe. Just the introduction of legislation like this hurts vulnerable young people. These bills should be rejected as promptly and completely as possible.

Last Name: Fisher Locality: Ashland, VA

Strongly oppose these bills. These bills would forcibly out LGBTQ+ students which puts them in danger. They already face high rates of bullying, harassment, and isolation. STOP this madness against trans children.

Last Name: Anderson Locality: Falls Church City

I’m a Virginian, a former School Board member, and the proud parent of a nonbinary Virginia college student. I write to oppose HB 1707, HB 2432, and HB 2170 and urge you to vote against them. HB 2170 is unnecessary for students overall, and harmful for our most vulnerable students. Students already have to get parental permission for school-recognized activities including sports, academic teams, field trips, and more. School-sponsored clubs already have adult supervision by qualified teachers and school staff, so students should be safe. School clubs are often comforting spaces for students who are exploring their artistic, athletic, mathematical, and musical selves. This is even more true for clubs such as Gay-Straight Alliances that provide a refuge for some of our most vulnerable students: those who are understanding their identity, gender, and/or sexuality. Barring those students from GSAs and similar clubs because their parents are unsupportive or because the students aren't yet ready to discuss their gender or sexual identities with their parents puts those children at greater risk. HB 1707 and HB 2432 would harm LGBTQ+ students. They would force school officials to betray the trust of students by demanding they “out” students to parents, even if the student is not ready or sharing that information with parents would put the child at risk. Forcing school staff to disclose deeply private information to parents puts our educators in a terrible position: breaching trust with their LGBTQ+ students, and eliminating what is often the only refuge for those students. The adults that work in schools are there to educate and protect children, not police their identities and be forced to act as agents to serve someone's political agenda. Vote no on all these discriminatory and harmful bills.

Last Name: Crane Locality: Charlottesville

Education must be focused on the goal of autonomy and thoughtful decision making. This bill is unnecessarily invasive and creates problems that do not exist by requiring excessive parental oversight. LGBTQ students who lack support and face harassment and discrimination at school experience increased isolation, depression, and risk of suicide and are more likely than their peers to miss school, often in an effort to avoid abuse. Protect our kids by keeping schools safe spaces rather than political battlegrounds.

Last Name: Hamilton Locality: Fairfax

HB 1707, HB 2432, and HB 2170 are anti-freedom pieces of legislation aimed at hurting LGBTQ+ students, specifically trans and gender non-binary students. They create new and extra regulations that don’t solve any problems and just create new ones for students, parents, and school administration. LGBTQ+ young people have unique journeys and for many disclosing their gender identity against their will can cause harm and far reaching repercussions. I urge the committee to reject all three of these bills.

Last Name: Wendy Organization: Equality Virginia Locality: Mechanicsville

Every LGBTQ person’s journey is unique, and for many, their discovery of self can be a sensitive time. A child’s decision to disclose parts of their identity should remain solely in their hands. Some provisions in these bills would force school officials to betray the trust of students by demanding they “out” students to parents, even if the student is not ready. Pushing school staff to disclose deeply private information to parents breaches trust and creates an uncomfortable school environment for LGBTQ+ youth. This effort to “out” children is unethical and unenforceable. The adults that work in schools are there to educate and protect children, not police their identities and serve as agents for a discriminatory political agenda. These bills would destroy trust between students and school staff. While we agree that important information about a child’s welfare should not be withheld from their parental guardians, we are suspicious of provisions that do not consider the consent of the minor in question. Trust between school staff and students is necessary to provide adequate mental-health support. If students feel that their communications are not confidential, they will be less likely to disclose important information to their school counselors and teachers. This legislation endangers LGBTQ+ students, who already face high rates of bullying, harassment, and isolation. LGBTQ students who lack support and face harassment and discrimination at school experience increased isolation, depression, and risk of suicide and are more likely than their peers to miss school, often in an effort to avoid abuse. These negative experiences can have serious long-term negative impacts on these students’ health, education, and well-being. We acknowledge that these bills are moving quickly, which can be overwhelming and stressful for those who are directly impacted or have loved ones who are. Please keep checking in with yourself, and take breaks as you need. We’re all in this fight together, and we appreciate your dedication to protecting transgender and nonbinary youth.

Last Name: Banner Organization: Pride Liberation Project Locality: Leesburg

My name is Felicity, and I’m a non-binary queer student in Loudoun County. I highly oppose HB 2170 because LGBTQIA+ students need to be protected and deserve safety. This bill would put many students in danger. I oppose HB 2432 because it endangers queer and trans students. LGBTQIA+ students need protection and the government trying to pass these bills puts all of us in harm's way. I oppose HB 1707 because trans students need to be protected and this bill is dangerous. It is disgusting how the government is using their power so they can bully queer and trans students. In conclusion, I highly oppose bills HB 1707, HB 2170, and HB 2432.

Last Name: Roland Locality: Fairfax County

Please do not implement or support policies or legislation requiring outing of LGBT youth to parents without those children’s consent, as this opens them to abuse and torture by those parents inclined to forcibly repress their own children.

Last Name: Short Locality: Rockingham County

Please do not endanger gender nonconforming (GNC) youth more than they already are by legitimizing these bills (HB1707, HB2170, and HB2432), all of which relate to forcing school staff to "out" these children to their parents. The justifications of these bills appear to be either predicated on the idea that the parents of GNC youth always have the best interests of their child in mind, or on the unspoken premise that GNC youth should face more bullying, harassment, and isolation than they already do. The first option is demonstrably false (see: rates of abuse of queer youth compared to their peers), the second option is shockingly hateful and cruel. GNC children need a safe environment in which to learn, one where they can flourish and be themselves. The environment proposed by these bills is instead one of decreased safety, where school staff cannot be trusted and GNC children are at increased risk both at school (increased bullying, harassment, and isolation) and at home (being abused, disowned, and/or forced to leave). The most charitable read of this bill I can fathom is that it comes from a place of profound ignorance about the lived experiences of GNC youth and the statistical risks they face. It's difficult not to also see genuine malicious intent toward, and craven political targeting of one of our most vulnerable groups of Virginians.

Last Name: Varin Locality: Henrico

Please vote No on this bill. We need to leave these trans kids alone. They have enough problems without government bullies piling on.

Last Name: Tellier Locality: Alexandria

LGBTQIA+ students deserve safety, privacy, and respect for their chosen identities. I strongly oppose these bills.

Last Name: Trestrail Locality: Henrico

These bills infringe on the rights of our children to live their lives with free expression of who they are. No one has the right to express their implicit bias by informing their parent guardian. It is very difficult to be born in a body that does not match your gender identity. Their schools should not have any rights to communicate choices children make while away from their families. It’s very important that children have an environment outside of the home to be safe and free without being “told on”. Every LGBTQ person’s journey is unique, and for many, their discovery of self can be a sensitive time. A child’s decision to disclose parts of their identity should remain solely in their hands. This effort to “out” children is unethical and unenforceable. The adults that work in schools are there to educate and protect children, not police their identities and serve as agents for a discriminatory political agenda. School is difficult for students that express their true self and having the school staff reporting to their parents makes everyday harder. If the children are comfortable with having their parents aware of their choices then they will tell them when they are ready. These bills will cause hardships in the students and their families lives. Let people be and stop applying your limited view and acceptance of people who don’t act like you. By defeating these bills we will support our children who need adults to respect them.

Last Name: Wolf Locality: Loudoun

I am a student in Virginia and I oppose bills 2432, 2170, and 1707 on the reasoning that it would lead to an increase in discrimination within school systems, negatively affecting the right to free public education to which all US students are entitled, as stated within the Constitution. These bills would negatively affect the safety of thousands of students should they be passed. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is prohibited under Title IX, as enforced by the US Department of Education, so it is within the best interests of the law that these bills not be passed.

Last Name: German Locality: Loudoun County

Please protect LGBTQ children and teenagers. Do not pass a forced outing bill. Protect their access to medical care and allow them to transition with the help and advice of medical professionals. These bills show that ignorance and hate and political stunts are more important to these legislators than the health and well-being of transgender children. We cannot accept legislation that is based on lies and hate and not on medical science.

Last Name: Rikli Locality: Chantilly

I will be graduating from Fairfax County this coming June. However, I worry how these bills will affect future / current students who are queer. When I came out to my mom for the first time, she yelled and screamed at me how it was a sin and that I “don’t make sense.” I don’t want any other student to face that, and I worry that such things will happen more frequently if these bills are passed. I don’t want future students to be forcibly outed to parents who may yell, scream, make fun of, or even beat their own child for their own identity. As a closing note, if these bills are passed and teen suicide rates go up, do not be surprised. You brought this upon yourselves.

Last Name: Clayton Locality: Henriy

I oppose these three bills. These bills erode the trust kids have in their counselors and teachers, and forced outing places some children in danger.

Last Name: Ouellette Locality: Chesapeake

I am speechlessly angry that you would assault the children of Virginia in this way. You have NO business deciding what gender my child should be. Are you going to say that my son must be gay if he wears pink? I bet none of you even knew that pink was an exclusively male colour until Mimi Eisenhower. Gender is a social construct and even biological sex is not as binary as penis or no penis. Your God or mine has NO place in the law of the land. These bills come from a place of religious intolerance and fear. Is that what Virginia should be knonw for?

Last Name: O’Reilly Locality: Chesapeake

I am writing to oppose the bills proposed which would force schools and staff to out students who are questioning their gender identity or using a gender identity at school that is not their gender assigned at birth. These bills degrade trust between students and school staff and potentially endanger children whose families are not accepting. This is an unnecessary and purely harmful policy that targets trans and non-binary kids. Kids should be able to express themselves and be safe in school.

Last Name: Nordwall Locality: Chantilly

Imagine wanting to cause further pain and undue suffering on a child who, through literally no fault of their own, is different from your status quo. I am a transgender adult, but I was once a transgender kid. It was scary and upsetting enough then trying to come to terms with myself without being vilified by a political party for political points, while they rally their base to increase hatred and vitriol. Trans kids these days don't get that luxury. They know that there is a nationwide spotlight on them when there shouldn't be. It is unconscionable to want to further perpetuate burdens and pain on any minority group of people, including kids. If these bills pass you will only be doing further harm on trans kids--you won't be getting rid of them like you want. They'll still be here. Trans people have always, and will always, be here. And we will stand with each other against archaic bigoted legislation brought forth by ignorant and out of touch representatives. Have the day that you all deserve.

Last Name: Pleasants Locality: Charlottesville

HB1707: This bill will remove important protections for trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming students and will affect their safety, autonomy, and sense of belonging. By forcibly outing students, you are potentially putting them in danger, as well as taking away the safe space they have tried to create. HB2170: While this bill may seem simple, it will infringe upon students' rights to join any teams or committees without fear of being outed or facing retaliation from their family. Kids who may want to join a Gender Sexuality Alliance/Gay Straight Alliance will have to choose between finding a supportive and healthy community and being outed to their family who may not be supportive of their identity. HB2432: The fact that this bill would force Therapists and counselors to out their clients to potentially unsupportive family members is horrible. This opens kids up to dangerous situations at home, by outing them without their consent. This also would protect families who deny their child's gender identity, which again, puts kids into dangerous situations. Affirming a child's gender identity can be life saving! A study from the Trevor Project found that "LGBTQ youth who found their school to be LGBTQ-affirming reported lower rates of attempting suicide." By removing these safe places and actively not supporting youth's gender identities, you are putting thousands of lives at risk. Trans youth are not going away, but if bills like these pass, they will be put at risk. All children deserve to be treated with respect, and for their whole identity to be supported and affirmed.

Last Name: Mendoza Organization: American Atheists - Assistant Director for the State of Virginia Locality: Henrico County

I OPPOSE these bills for the following reasons: These bills would force school districts to “out” students to their parents. -Every LGBTQ person’s journey is unique, and for many, their discovery of self can be a sensitive time. A child’s decision to disclose parts of their identity should remain solely in their hands. -Some provisions in these bills would force school officials to betray the trust of students by demanding they “out” students to parents, even if the student is not ready. Pushing school staff to disclose deeply private information to parents breaches trust and creates an uncomfortable school environment for LGBTQ+ youth. -This effort to “out” children is unethical and unenforceable. The adults that work in schools are there to educate and protect children, not police their identities and serve as agents for a discriminatory political agenda. These bills would destroy trust between students and school staff. -While we agree that important information about a child’s welfare should not be withheld from their parental guardians, we are suspicious of provisions that do not consider the consent of the minor in question. -Trust between school staff and students is necessary to provide adequate mental-health support. If students feel that their communications are not confidential, they will be less likely to disclose important information to their school counselors and teachers. This legislation endangers LGBTQ+ students, who already face high rates of bullying, harassment, and isolation. -LGBTQ students who lack support and face harassment and discrimination at school experience increased isolation, depression, and risk of suicide and are more likely than their peers to miss school, often in an effort to avoid abuse. -These negative experiences can have serious long-term negative impacts on these students’ health, education, and well-being.

Last Name: Lewis Locality: Fairfax

These bills would force school districts to “out” students to their parents and destroy trust between students and school staff. They endanger LGBTQ+ students, who already face high rates of bullying, harassment, and isolation. As the mother of a gay child and a long time PFLAG facilitator, I oppose these bills and urge their defeat.

Last Name: Barnes Organization: SEVASH Locality: VIRGINIA BEACH

These bills would force school districts to “out” students to their parents. - Every LGBTQ person’s journey is unique, and for many, their discovery of self can be a sensitive time. A child’s decision to disclose parts of their identity should remain solely in their hands. - Some provisions in these bills would force school officials to betray the trust of students by demanding they “out” students to parents, even if the student is not ready. Pushing school staff to disclose deeply private information to parents breaches trust and creates an uncomfortable school environment for LGBTQ+ youth. - This effort to “out” children is unethical and unenforceable. The adults that work in schools are there to educate and protect children, not police their identities and serve as agents for a discriminatory political agenda. These bills would destroy trust between students and school staff. - While we agree that important information about a child’s welfare should not be withheld from their parental guardians, we are suspicious of provisions that do not consider the consent of the minor in question. - Trust between school staff and students is necessary to provide adequate mental-health support. If students feel that their communications are not confidential, they will be less likely to disclose important information to their school counselors and teachers. This legislation endangers LGBTQ+ students, who already face high rates of bullying, harassment, and isolation. - LGBTQ students who lack support and face harassment and discrimination at school experience increased isolation, depression, and risk of suicide and are more likely than their peers to miss school, often in an effort to avoid abuse. - These negative experiences can have serious long-term negative impacts on these students’ health, education, and well-being.

Last Name: Thomas Organization: LGBT Life Center Locality: Norfolk, VA

We oppose these bills. While we agree that important information about a child’s welfare should not be withheld from their parental guardians, these bills would destroy trust between students and school staff. Trust between school staff and students is necessary to provide adequate mental-health support. If students feel that their communications with school staff are not confidential, they will be less likely to disclose important information to their school counselors and teachers. The bills should include provisions to consider consent of the minor in question for this reason. These bills also endanger LGBTQ+ students, who already face high rates of bullying, harassment, and isolation. LGBTQ students who face harassment and discrimination at school and do not trust school staff experience increased isolation, depression, and risk of suicide and are more likely than their peers to miss school, often in an effort to avoid abuse. This can have serious long-term negative impacts on these students’ health, education, and well-being. Thank you for your service to our Commonwealth and for the opportunity to provide feedback.

Last Name: Isley Locality: Patrick

As an LGBTQ Virginian, I am opposed to HB1707, HB2170 and HB2432 because they will harm LGBTQ kids under the guise of "protecting" them or by seeming to favor parental authority. If a trans kid wants to be a different gender at school, who does this harm? And why make teachers the bad guys by requiring them to become informants to parents who may not have child's best interests at heart. The truth is that not all parents are good parents. HB2170 is clearly designed to prevent LGBTQ kids in need of friends and support from joining a LGBTQ club unless their parents approve. That club could be the one safe place for that child. As far as HB2432, what happened to "Sage" was tragic, but I disagree with those who link the child sex trafficking to the state's decision to remove Sage from the grandparents' home. To the contrary, I feel lawmakers are exploiting Sage all over again but for their own personal political agendas. LGBTQ kids face enough struggles in a society where they are bullied, slandered and are the targets of hateful legislation that seeks to impose others' opinions on their lives. I was a lucky kid in that my parents supported me, but not all parents are as wonderful as mine were. Let these LGBTQ kids find their way, give them a supportive space in which to do so, and quit trying to legislate how others live their lives.

Last Name: Whittington Organization: N/A Locality: Arlington

The anti-Trans bills you’re all pushing are abhorrent and give a green light to further marginalization and bullying against Trans students in the Commonwealth of VA. As a Trans woman myself, I know firsthand what an oppressive educational environment does to marginalized students. The 3 bills (HB 1707 / HB 2170 / HB 2432 respectively) being heard are performative and unfathomably cruel, attacking a marginalized group of students that already deal with a high degree of bullying / harassment by adults as well as their cis-hetero peers. Do the right thing and withdrawal this cynical and heinous legislation.

Last Name: Pegoraro Locality: Arlington

I've chosen to write together to these three bills because they seem to me to limit the freedom of students to learn and explore. My middle-schooler tells me of many students who are using different gender identities at school with friends and perhaps staff than they are at home. I don't see any need for parents to know this from the schools - the parents who are already inclusive and welcoming know these gender identities, and there may be good reasons why the other parents do not. Students may not feel safe at home, or may want to keep this exploration private until they are ready to share outside of their chosen groups at school. The rule about clubs follows - the school hosts these clubs and activities to give the students alternate methods to learn things - maybe about the environment by picking up litter, or the government by expressing freedom of speech, or their athletic ability with a running club. I believe that the schools are child development professionals and I respect their judgement on whether these clubs are worthwhile. Please do not legislate on top of them.

Last Name: Cowden Locality: Arlington

These bills would force school districts to “out” students to their parents. Every LGBTQ person’s journey is unique, and for many, their discovery of self can be a sensitive time. A child’s decision to disclose parts of their identity should remain solely in their hands. Some provisions in these bills would force school officials to betray the trust of students by demanding they “out” students to parents, even if the student is not ready. Pushing school staff to disclose deeply private information to parents breaches trust and creates an uncomfortable school environment for LGBTQ+ youth. This effort to “out” children is unethical and unenforceable. The adults that work in schools are there to educate and protect children, not police their identities and serve as agents for a discriminatory political agenda. These bills would destroy trust between students and school staff. While we agree that important information about a child’s welfare should not be withheld from their parental guardians, we are suspicious of provisions that do not consider the consent of the minor in question. Trust between school staff and students is necessary to provide adequate mental-health support. If students feel that their communications are not confidential, they will be less likely to disclose important information to their school counselors and teachers. This legislation endangers LGBTQ+ students, who already face high rates of bullying, harassment, and isolation. LGBTQ students who lack support and face harassment and discrimination at school experience increased isolation, depression, and risk of suicide and are more likely than their peers to miss school, often in an effort to avoid abuse. These negative experiences can have serious long-term negative impacts on these students’ health, education, and well-being.

Last Name: Alkateeb Locality: Charlottesville

These three proposed bills are incredibly transphobic and dangerous. They will do immense harm to our youth. Affirming a child's gender identity can save their life. Bills HB1707, HB2170, and HB2432 are heinous. They cannot become law.

Last Name: Hartinger Locality: Richmond

These bills will harm trans youth. They will also harm all youth. If you increasingly make it difficult for trans youth to exist and have their right to privacy, you push them towards suicide. If a queer child feels the need to keep their queerness secret from their parents that is their right. And there is a reason for it. Some queer kids if outed would become homeless. If you are willing to pass these measures that would create homeless children then fuck you. Fuck yourself you assholes. Suck my feminine dick and literally swallow a cheese grater.

Last Name: Johnston Locality: Alexandria

I'm writing today to oppose HB1707, HB2170, and HB2432. As a queer woman who had violently homophonic relatives, I knew growing up that my mental and physical safety depended on much of my family not knowing about my sexuality. This is sadly a common story for so many of us in the LGBTQ+ community, most especially for our trans and non-binary youth. By requiring parental notification or parental consent as laid out in these two bills, we are risking the safety of our students who are in unsupportive and potentially hostile living situations. We owe it to all LGBTQ+ Virginia students to come out on their own terms, to people who will be safe and supportive, and when they feel ready to do so. These bills would strip agency from our young people and would shatter the trust they have with faculty. At a time when trans and non-binary youth are facing alarming rates of bullying, harassment, homelessness, and abuse, these bills would have the catastrophic side effect of only adding to these numbers. I trust you will put the wellbeing of Virginia's youth ahead of personal opinions and not move forward with these three bills. Thank you for your time.

Last Name: Lindblom Locality: Charlottesville

I oppose these bills which are designed to cause harm to children.

Last Name: Fox Locality: Seaford, VA

I am writing in OPPOSITION to HB1707 (Durant), HB2432 (LaRock), and HB2170 (Williams), which would require Virginia schools to inform parents whether their children are transgender or gender nonbinary (HB1707 and HB2432) and to require parental permission for children to participate in school clubs or organizations, including gay-straight alliances and other such groups (HB2170). Not all transgender students have parents who are supportive of sexual orientation and gender identity issues. Involuntarily disclosing a child's transgender status to unsupportive parents can put the child at risk of violence, rejection, and homelessness. In particular, transgender children are disproportionately represented in homeless youth populations and become vulnerable to sex trafficking. Not surprisingly, this also can put a child at risk of suicide. None of these are acceptable outcomes for a child. These bills seem to be a misguided attempt to prevent transgender children from walking down a path that leads to irreversible medical treatments. They do not take into consideration that any form of medical treatment requires parental consent, so a child would need to disclose his or her transgender status, voluntarily, with his or her parents - on the child's own terms, and at his or her own level of comfort. Lacking this parental disclosure, no irreversible medical treatments are even possible. It is also possible that these bills are a misguided attempt to prevent children from "deciding" to be transgender. Being transgender (or even gay) is not a choice. It is the result of how we develop in utero, combined with certain genetic factors. Thus transgender people cannot be prevented from being transgender. They can only be punished and humiliated and impeded from living their authentic lives. These hurdles are unnecessary and are damaging. Every child deserves a safe environment in which to interact with other children as his or her authentic self. Every child deserves the ability to talk to a teacher or school counselor without fear of being "informed on." Every child deserves the "space" to sort out complicated social and emotional issues on his or her own terms. These bills deprive children of these personal rights. A much better model of responsible and effective school intervention would be to make a school counselor available to discuss gender identity issues with any children who might seek guidance, and then to counsel the children with regard to how they might approach their parents - on their own terms and in their own time. Trusted school staff should make themselves available to mediate in safe discussions between transgender children and their parents. However, under no circumstances should children be involuntarily reported to their parents for having been born different. This requirement removes an invaluable safety net that the child needs. I urge the committee to oppose these bills. They accomplish nothing beneficial for the children they target, and in fact they would do great harm. Nothing in these bills would stop a transgender child's trajectory towards transitioning and seeking medical treatment, if that is what he or she eventually decides is appropriate. They would only make the journey more traumatic, strip the child of caring resources, and place the child in danger of violence, rejection, homelessness, sex trafficking, and/or suicide. Please vote NO on HB1707, HB2170 , and HB2432.

Last Name: Brooks Locality: Richmond

As we grow we evolve, or at least we hope to. However, as we continue our journey we learn things about ourselves. There are times we learn them, yet are not comfortable with sharing them. Sometimes we know that if we share something about us, even with family, we know it could put us in a dangerous situation. Just because it’s your family does not mean that a child will be loved, especially if that family doesn’t agree or support you. These bills are extremely dangerous and will hurt kids, not help them. I guarantee you that passing these bills will have more harm done than any good that you possibly think can come from it. I plead with you to allow these kids to be who they are, and know that they know the situation they’re in better than us.

Last Name: Tucker Locality: Albemarle

I am strongly opposed to HB 1707, HB 2170 and HB 2432. The notification (outing] of a student to his parents could eradicate the trust a student feels towards school staff and the ability ti share with them. Also, this could open the student to additional bullying at school and puts the student at additional risk of depression, hopelessness and suicide. Although it is preferable to have a student and their parents to communicate about these important matters, we know that not every family shares this ability to communicate. I urge you to vote against these bills which would lead to unethical and inexcusable results.

Last Name: Dimick Locality: Henrico

As an lgbtq person, I strongly disagree with any bill that forces the outing of transgender youth. So many youth do not have supportive adults at home and many commit suicide. Forced outing is unsafe for our youth.

Last Name: Borowski Locality: Blacksburg

I do not support these bills. Virginia schools should focus on our children’s education, not how they want to identify. The adults that work in schools are there to educate and protect children, not police their identities and serve as agents for a discriminatory political agenda.

Last Name: Webner Locality: Richmond

I strongly oppose any bill that would require ANYONE to "out" an individual regarding their gender identity. This would be a harmful, psychologically damaging to a child, and could result in assault. It is appalling this id even being considered. Students should also be able to attend any after school or school related program of their choice without a guardian's permission.

Last Name: Estes Locality: Springfield

These bills are heinous bills introduced solely to marginalize a community that already is at one of the highest risks of both youth suicide and homicide. Forced outing to a parent would do nothing but endanger the lives of children in our state, children who already scared and confused because they have been forced to live in a way that does truly describe who they really are. What these bills do is put these children at risk with abusive parents, some of which would either physically abuse their children if they found out their identity or at worst murder them. Please do not unnecessarily endanger the lives of our youth. Thank you.

Last Name: Harris Locality: Crozet

I am writing in opposition to bills HB 1707, HB 2432, and HB 2170. These bills would force school districts to “out” students to their parents. Every LGBTQ person’s journey is unique, and for many, their discovery of self can be a sensitive time. A child’s decision to disclose parts of their identity should remain solely in their hands. Kids know who they can trust...it's our job to BE that trusted grown-up. Some provisions in these bills would force school officials to betray the trust of students by demanding they “out” students to parents, even if the student is not ready. Pushing school staff to disclose deeply private information to parents breaches trust and creates an uncomfortable school environment for LGBTQ+ youth. This effort to “out” children is unethical and unenforceable. The adults that work in schools are there to educate and protect children, not police their identities and serve as agents for a discriminatory political agenda. Trust between school staff and students is necessary to provide adequate mental-health support. If students feel that their communications are not confidential, they will be less likely to disclose important information to their school counselors and teachers. This legislation endangers LGBTQ+ students, who already face high rates of bullying, harassment, and isolation. While important information about a child’s welfare should not be withheld from their parental guardians, these bills do not consider the consent of the minor in question. LGBTQ students who lack support and face harassment and discrimination at school experience increased isolation, depression, and risk of suicide and are more likely than their peers to miss school, often in an effort to avoid abuse. These negative experiences can have serious long-term negative impacts on these students’ health, education, and well-being. If you think schools should out kids to their parents, you might ask yourself if you're the kind of parent your kid would willingly come out to: It's the parents' responsibility to create a home environment of unconditional love, trust, and support from day one and the schools' responsibility to be a safe place for all kids. I vehemently oppose these bills that put identity politics ahead of student safety and well-being.

Last Name: Seyba Locality: Yorktown VA

I oppose these bills! These bills would force school districts to “out” students to their parents. Every LGBTQ person’s journey is unique, and for many, their discovery of self can be a sensitive time. A child’s decision to disclose parts of their identity should remain solely in their hands. Some provisions in these bills would force school officials to betray the trust of students by demanding they “out” students to parents, even if the student is not ready. Pushing school staff to disclose deeply private information to parents breaches trust and creates an uncomfortable school environment for LGBTQ+ youth. This effort to “out” children is unethical and unenforceable. The adults that work in schools are there to educate and protect children, not police their identities and serve as agents for a discriminatory political agenda. These bills would destroy trust between students and school staff. While we agree that important information about a child’s welfare should not be withheld from their parental guardians, we are suspicious of provisions that do not consider the consent of the minor in question. Trust between school staff and students is necessary to provide adequate mental-health support. If students feel that their communications are not confidential, they will be less likely to disclose important information to their school counselors and teachers. This legislation endangers LGBTQ+ students, who already face high rates of bullying, harassment, and isolation. LGBTQ students who lack support and face harassment and discrimination at school experience increased isolation, depression, and risk of suicide and are more likely than their peers to miss school, often in an effort to avoid abuse. These negative experiences can have serious long-term negative impacts on these students’ health, education, and well-being. Melissa

Last Name: Alderman Locality: Albemarle

Schools have a responsibility to care for their students' safety and well-being. Forcibly "outing" kids to parents who may not respond to that news in a kind or loving way could put those students at real risk of harm. While I sympathize with the importance of parental notification, kids' safety and health should come first. Please vote no on any bill that would require schools to "out" kids as LGBTQ+ to their parents.

Last Name: Karabinos Organization: VPEP (Virginia Public Education Partners) Locality: Chesterfield

VPEP Opposes this policy This is an attack on a student's first amendment right to free assembly. This is being introduced in response to student-led protests against the US Supreme Court's Dobbs decision and against the Governor's cruel Transgender Model Policy. The sponsor should have been honest and called this the "Sit down and Shut up" Bill.

Last Name: Patwardhan Locality: Fairfax County

1454 - are you serious? Anyone who remotely values having an educated society will oppose 1454. Good Lord. 2170 is also utterly ridiculous. I OPPOSE 2170, of course. This undermines students' ability to explore their extracurricular interests in the school setting. 1707 and 2432 - I OPPOSE these. These bills would threaten the safety of trans students. 1803 - I OPPOSE this. People need to trust educators to do their jobs, and not impose their beliefs on public schools. I SUPPORT 1497 and 1566. It is disgraceful how educators are treated in this country, and these bills would begin to rectify that. Thank you, Delegates Convirs-Fowler and Rasoul. I support 2388 and 2439. I SUPPORT 2177 as a foreign language teacher. I just wish more bills promoting foreign language education could be on the agenda.

Last Name: Taylor Locality: Springfield VA

These bills are meddling in the continuity and consistency of education. These bills make teachers jobs more complicated and parents have all these rights in the first place. If a student is called by a nickname they would need to go through these processes to be called a name their family chose for them. The party of less government is seeking more government targeted at a specific group of students based on ignorance and hate. The very important and life altering issues facing citizens are languishing while time is taken up in Legislature with these bills targeting a very small population and resulting in more time spent with layers and courts. Stop trying to legislate people's lives and children and get to infrastructure, etc.

Last Name: Garth Locality: Charlottesville

Neither of these bills have anything to do with laws. Your job is to establish laws in our state that help keep the peace and order, not to suppress open minded thoughts and thinking. Let our children explore who they are, and what they want to become. Suppression of those types of thoughts will lead to more mental health issues and trauma. Haven’t our youth been traumatized enough by the pandemic and all of the things that went along with that? When I was in high school, I joined a peer support group for a traumatic experience that I had experienced. I did not tell my parents about that experience. It was extremely personal, and I did not want to talk to them about it. According to one of the bills proposed (Williams) I would have had to tell my parents that I joined that group, and received their permission to attend meetings. I can say with absolute certainty, would not have done that, and as a result, I wouldn’t have joined the group. Why this is important to me is because my take away from being a part of that group, was triumph and support. It helped me to overcome and live with the trauma, and make me the strong person that I am today. The other bill (Ballard) being proposed that I am against is the name change bill. I am not understanding how this is a state of VA issue. If a student wants to be called by another name, why should we stop that from happening? It is harmless. I am curious, does this include nicknames? For example, will all Richard’s need to be called Richard and not “Rich”? Or is bill singling out transgender and non binary students? Students who already feel singled out on a daily basis. This bill has no educational value, and is not a necessary action that needs to be taken. The state of Virginia is beautiful. We should appreciate and respect all of those living in it, including our youth.

Last Name: Renee Atkinson Locality: Arlington

I am submitting my opposition to both if these bills. This is a solution in search of the problem. It's unnecessary and doesn't serve any educational purposes. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. It also ties teachers' hands, who want to be supportive of their kids and create a welcoming classroom for all students, but are put in a difficult position to out trans kids by the names on their records. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Renee Atkinson Locality: Arlington

I am submitting my opposition to both if these bills. This is a solution in search of the problem. It's unnecessary and doesn't serve any educational purposes. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. It also ties teachers' hands, who want to be supportive of their kids and create a welcoming classroom for all students, but are put in a difficult position to out trans kids by the names on their records. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Mellom Locality: Blue Ridge

As the parent of a transgender child I oppose this bill. I am supportive of my child, but there are many parents who are not at all, and it would definitely bring harm to many who need a safe place to be themselves in a GSA group to have to tell a nonaffirming parent before they are ready to do so. Many lgbtq kids become homeless the day they come out to their parents. We must not allow this bill to pass, as it would be harmful to many. Think of someone who desperately needs to find this group due to isolation and despair, to require parental consent may prevent them from doing so. Please do not support this bill!

Last Name: Parker Organization: Unitarian Universalist Community Church in Glen Allen Locality: Hanover

My name is Rev. Kayla Parker and I am the Minister at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church. I am also pregnant with my first child, and oppose HB 1434 and HB 2170 as a clergy person and mother. When our schools require a court order for our children our youth to be called by their chosen and true name, it prevents them from being present as themselves in their classes in a respectful and timely manner. This is harmful to their learning and personal development, and prevents school from being the environment for learning and growth that it ought to be. When students are required to inform their parents of clubs or groups they are involved with, it could prevent children from getting the support they are needing in school for fear of what their parents might think about them going to a particular group. The effects of this would extend beyond LGBTQ youth, to all who might want support around an issue or an identity that they are feeling insecure about, from extra math help to wanting to be a part of a Christian group. I hope that the representatives will ground themselves in their calling to represent and protect all citizens, especially the most vulnerable among us. This includes LGBTQ youth. Youth in my congregation have been experiencing more bullying and harassment at school since the increase of these harmful and hateful bills and policies have passed on county and state levels. Real lives and families are in jeopardy, and I urge you to center and care for these.

Last Name: DiMartino Locality: Chesterfield County, Midlothian, 23112

(I mistyped my previous one, so disregard it) I'm writing against HB1434 and HB2170. When you were elected to represent the people of Virginia, do you mean to ignore the students all across our state? When you think of trans people, do you think of old men in lipstick? Because by voting to advance these bills yo become law, you must understand how truly out of touch you are with reality. You don't know and trans people and never will, and yet you mean to legislate against us? Against people I call friends and who I am closest to? People whose lives would be in ruins if they weren't able to be who they really were at school? School is people's place where they are called what they want, and can love whoever they love. You claim to be for children, and how you just care about them so much. But that lie becomes so much more apparent when you lie about trans children. These people just want love that they can't get from home. You think they deserve nothing? No ounce of respect or encouragement? No pat on the back or reassurance about their future? But that isn't even getting into the technicalities of this bill. Where will it be enforced? In what schools? How harshly will it be enforced? What are the repercussions for students, schools, teachers, or parents for not following the law? Will it go onto some kind of record? Will you make lists of trans people? Will this apply to only trans people, or does it include people with other identity disorders (i.e. DID)? Does this include nicknames or just preferred names? Do you understand how impractical, morally and or technical, that these two bills would be? You will upend the lives of the people who I trust and rely on, and they, in turn, rely on me. This bill cannot pass. Please, for the love of everyone, do not vote to pass this bill.

Last Name: Shumate Organization: Elizabeth Shumate, LCSW Locality: Newport News

I am contacting you with opposition to these bills. Thank you for considering my opinion.

Last Name: Garrett Locality: Mechanicsville

I oppose the passage of HB 1434-Ballard and HB 2170-Williams as being unnecessary, unrelated to improving public education, burdensome on parents, students, and courts, and harmful to students. Please focus legislative efforts on improving the diversity, safety, inclusiveness, and breadth of public education, rather tan trying to remove the basic human rights of students. Regards, J. Garrett Mechanicsville

Last Name: Steed Locality: South Riding

Regarding HB 1434: Studies have shown in recent years that using a student's preferred name and pronouns can substantially reduce suicide rates. This provides barriers to both parents and teachers who want to provide support for their children, which can create more problems and safety risks than this bill intends to solve. Regarding HB2170: The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Kaufmann Locality: Fairfax

I oppose HB1434, because not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. · It also ties teachers' hands, who want to be supportive of their kids and create a welcoming classroom for all students, but are put in a difficult position to out trans kids by the names on their records. · Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. I also oppose HB2170, because it could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. · GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Rinehart Locality: Crozet

This bill is an unnecessary waste of staff time and resources in our schools. It is an overreach of government to be involved at this level. It violates the principles of an educational system that is intended tp foster the optimal development of each individual, providing students with opportunities to grow, explore, develop and learn. If it is a school sponsored activity, sport, or event than what more is needed? This is one more ridiculous burden being given to our schools -- it would require monitoring, tracking and leave staff apprehensive about inadvertently violating and being at legal risk. Unnecessary and wasteful of resources! Our students deserve the right to some freedom, privacy, choice - and the persuit of happiness!

Last Name: Barker Locality: Richmond City

I completely oppose this bill. It is wholly unnecessary and would be harmful to youths well-being and put their lives at risk. It is a disgusting bill.

Last Name: Skelly Organization: Retired Locality: ARLINGTON VA

I am writing to express my opposition to these two bills, which would inflict unnecessary control and potentially deep harm to vulnerable youth exploring their sexual and gender identities. These students their school systems is best served by trusting teachers and educators to support individual students, rather than by referring issues such as a change of name to cumbersome legal and court processes. Thank you.

Last Name: Ainspan Locality: Arlington, VA

I am a resident of Arlington - 22204. I oppose HB 2170 Williams. . I am a psychologist and know the difficulties that trans people face and the impact that barriers such as the ones proposed by this bill can have on their mental health and their lives because of bills like this that trans people have one of the highest suicide rates of any group in our nation. This bill will create additional and unnecessary barriers for trans Virginians to fully become who they are meant to be - by making it more difficult for them to take part in clubs that could help them maintain their mental health. This bill is also an affront to my religious rights and beliefs. My Jewish faith dictates that God does not make mistakes and accepts the identity of trans individuals without question. If this bill is passed, it will become a First Amendment right for fellow religious people like me who will have the government dictate how they can live their lives under their religious beliefs.

Last Name: Markels Locality: Springfield

• The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. • GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Burroughs Organization: Burroughs Law Office, P.C. Locality: Virginia Beach

If passed, HB2170 will cause emotional and physical harm to many children in Virginia. It will have the opposite result sought by its supporters. At a minimum, it will remove a haven for students who live in families that do not support and affirm them. They will needlessly suffer in silence, without any support, leading to further negative mental health consequences and, sadly, increased incidents of suicidal ideations. Likely for students who reside in households where they are not seen, accepted, or affirmed and brave enough to seek their parents' consent will undoubtedly suffer mental and/or physical abuse. This type of legislation is a dangerous for students who rely on the haven provided by quite possibly the only option available to them. We cannot support implementing laws that have known consequences of causing harm to children in Virginia.

Last Name: Butler Locality: Mechanicsville

I oppose these two bills. These two bills are designed to make it harder on trans kids and are unconscionable. People need to be themselves and not be forced into a few pre-ordained boxes. Think of the Chinese women who were subjected to foot binding and the lefthanders who were forced to write with their right hands, just because society thought certain things were desirable or right. Think of those who were denied the right to marry a person of another race. I say this as a US Naval Academy grad (1968) and former naval aviator, plus a person with a 40-year career as a clinical social worker. I have provided psychotherapy for hundreds of individuals, couples, and families. People need to become themselves.

Last Name: Rebecca Huber Locality: Mechanicsville

1. Regarding HB1434 - this is ridiculous overkill. Do we require any kind of documentation or legal paperwork for nicknames? If a child wants to be known by initials (I.e. AJ) is opposed to a first name, will they need a court order? What about a middle name? 2. Regarding HB2170 - what clubs/activities at school are so harmful to students that parents would need to be specifically informed? If a parent is actively involved and engaged with their child, how and when would the parent not be aware of their child’s activities? Many children have questions that they sometimes want or need additional advice or perspectives on. Creating a climate where children aren’t free to ask seek a diversity of thought or experience is the antithesis of the public education system. All sports activities (that have the potential for harm) require parental engagement already. I’d like to know what additional activities are happening that don’t already require parental consent that are quantifiably harmful to students.

Last Name: Simpson Locality: Falls Church

I am writing to oppose two bills currently being discussed, HB 1434 and HB2170. Both bills negatively affect our trans children. The former, HB 1434 affects how children name and call themselves, something that children frequently do and enjoy. My own sister renamed herself for several years while in grammer school. She asked her friends and teacher to refer to her by another name. This was innocent and fun, certainly not semething to be state regulated. The second bill, HB 2170, is also unneeded regulation of children's personal and independent lives. They need to be free to associate and explore various aspects of life, including various clubs and gatherings. Children are not robots to be programmed and state regulated.

Last Name: Wylie Locality: Chantilly

Please vote down HB1434. Though this bill is a thinly veiled attempt to harass children who are working out their gender expression, the action implementation of the proposed language will result in ludicrous results. Will schools be liable if they print official records or material that uses a student's preferred nickname, like "Dick" instead of "Richard", "Andy" instead of "Andrew", or "Al" instead of "Alison"? What if a student's nickname is something widely divergent from their given name? When I was in school I had a fellow student who went by "Rocky" rather than his given name. Would a school be liable under this bill for printing material that referred to this student the way he was referred to everyday by everyone who knew him? Please vote down HB2170. As a parent of 3 children in the VA public school system I appreciate that parents and students should work together regarding extracurricular activities, which may involve significant time and/or money. But the bill as written appears to be an attempt to prevent students from attending clubs that their parents might not approve of for ideological reasons, such as a Good News Club or an LGBT club. Aren't students in school to learn new things? Aren't we supposed to be raising children who can make their own choices and express their own thoughts? I don't see why it's necessary for parents to have veto power over their children's choice of clubs - this bill seems like a mean-spirited attempt to intimidate students into outwardly conforming to their parent's ideology.

Last Name: Moscirella Locality: Berlin

The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Dobbins Locality: Richmond

HB 1434 should be opposed, it is a solution in search of the problem. It's unnecessary and doesn't serve any educational purposes. All students should feel safe and accepted at school, and that starts by using their correct name. This creates a completely unnecessary barrier that would simply exist to ostracize students. HB 2170 should be opposed as well. It is again another unnecessary barrier to students feeling accepted at school. This could harm LGBTQ+ students by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. As these clubs can provide a safe and open space for students who don't feel accepted at home. But this bill would put those students in harms way should they live in an unsupportive household.

Last Name: Lourenco Locality: Leesburg

Like the voting requirements that were put in place when Black Americans first got the vote, this seems reasonable on its face -- but is designed solely to discriminate against LGBTQ+ students. The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: DiMartino Locality: Chesterfield County, Midlothian, 23112

I'm writing against HB1434 and HB2030. When you were elected to represent the people of Virginia, do you mean to ignore the students all across our state? When you think of trans people, do you think of old men in lipstick? Because by voting to advance these bills to become law, you must understand how truly out of touch you are with reality. You don't know and trans people and never will, and yet you mean to legislate against us? Against people I call friends and who I am closest to? People whose lives would be in ruins if they weren't able to be who they really were at school? School is people where they are called what they want, and can love whoever they love. You claim to be for children, and how you just care about them so much. But that lie becomes so much more apparent when you lie about trans children. These people just want love that they can't get from home. You think they deserve nothing? No ounce of respect or encouragement? No pat on the back or reassurance about their future? But that isn't even getting into the technicalities of this bill. Where will it be enforced? In what schools? How harshly will it be enforced? What are the repercussions for students, schools, teachers, or parents for not following the law? Will it go onto some kind of record? Will you make lists of trans people? Will this apply to only trans people, or does it include people with other identity disorders (i.e. DID)? Does this include nicknames or just preferred names? Do you understand how impractical, morally and or otherwise, that these two bills would be? You will upend the lives of the people who I trust and rely on, and they, in turn, rely on me. This bill cannot pass. Please, for the love of everyone, do not vote to pass this bill.

Last Name: Goadhouse Organization: Ursula Goadhouse Locality: Crozet

HB 2170-Williams Oppose. My children have gone through and one currently in Albemarle County school system. I am a MSW and work in mental health and well being. I strongly oppose the need for legal documentation of a name change for a child to use their chosen name in school. It has been a standard for children to be able to be called their nicknames by the teachers and staff for decades. It is even more important for emotional well-being for a child to be called by their chosen name by teachers and staff. One of my children has experienced the support of the school community in this very situation, and also eventually had legal name change as well. Living through this experience clarifies the benefits of supporting children where they are in their emotional/psychological/physical development. Not all children are safe at home. Requiring legal documentation, for some, would be causing psychological harm to a developing child for no benefit. I strongly oppose the HB 2170-Williams. Ursula Goadhouse

Last Name: Lewis Locality: Fairfax

These bills are unnecessary and harmful to trans children. As the parent of a gay child and a former PFLAG facilitator, I support Equality Virginia's opposition to these bills.

Last Name: Haynes Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother to 5 children, some who are lgbtqia+ this is harmful to all of my children. My straight kids have more rights than my non straight children. How is this justifiable? At what point are all people created equal? Why am Ibfirced to have different survival conversations with each of my children because of laws like these? Why are my LGBTQIA+ kids worth less than my straight kids to my state government? At what point will you work to protect all of my children equally?

Last Name: Rossi Locality: Ashland

These bills represent the systemic dehumanization and demoralization of our children and are unacceptable.

Last Name: Richard Locality: Charlottesville

HB 1434 (Ballard) - Opposed This is totally unnecessary and clearly targeting trans students. Students have long been able to go by nicknames or other names without a legal name change. For instance, my legal name is Catherine but all of my teachers and employers have called me Katie without blinking an eye. One of the easiest ways to support students and help them to feel comfortable at school is to use their correct name. Please don't make that more difficult. This does literally nothing to support students. HB 2170 (Williams) - Opposed There are so many students, LGBTQ+ or otherwise, who find refuge and support at after school or other school related activities when their homes are not supportive or safe. I'm afraid that in an effort to give parents a voice, we are now prioritizing parent comfort and desires over student safety (and I say this as a parent with a student in VA). There is no world where this is okay. Also, this proposal does NOT promote educational success. Students can only thrive in schools when they feel safe and these proposals are chipping away at some of the supports in place that help them do so. Thank you!

Last Name: Sube Organization: Transgender Assistance Program Virginia Locality: Virginia Beach

HB 1434 is a solution in search of the problem. It's unnecessary and doesn't serve any educational purposes. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order. It also ties teachers' hands, who want to be supportive of their kids and create a welcoming classroom for all students, but are put in a difficult position to out trans kids by the names on their records. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. HB2170 would harm LGBTQ+ students by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in Gay Straight Alliances or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Cohen Locality: Springfield

Wholeheartedly disapprove of both bills in the strongest of terms. They are a direct attack on our LGBTQ children. At a time in their lives when they are trying to figure themselves out this would force them to make a decision about identity that they may not be ready to make. And parental consent as a requirement for school activities will alienate children with bad home situations from peer and school support. These bills are damaging to our children with no justification for the dame they will cause.

Last Name: Carter Locality: Richmond

Neither of these bills serve an educational purpose.

Last Name: Kevin Neilson-Hall Locality: Goochland

Please oppose these bills that would unnecessarily harm LGBTQ+ children by singling them out and adding unnecessary barriers to their health and safety. I am sympathetic to the desire to keep parents informed but unfortunately not all parents are safe, especially for these children. Having an accepting and supportive community is a part of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness promised to us. Why should that be denied to our children?

Last Name: Kerckhove Locality: Petersburg

god is trans and she loves trans kids. death before detransition. gender is FUN. being queer rules. i oppose both of these bills. kids should be called whatever they want and join clubs as they see fit. kids should have agency over their own lives and explore who they are without having to ask for everyone else’s permission first.

Last Name: Jorgenson Locality: Fairfax County

I am a recent graduate of a Fairfax County high school. I strongly oppose both HB 1434 (Ballard) and HB 2170 (Williams). Both bills are unecessary and would harm transgender and nonbinary students. These two bills would also negatively affect cisgender students.

Last Name: Colby Locality: Charlottesville

This bill is an extremely overzealous act of helicopter parenting. In order to properly develop and self-actualize, young people need space to define themselves and their interests. School organizations offer resources—support organizations for sexual assault survivors come to mind—that vulnerable young folks might not yet be ready to speak to their parents about needing. Please respect the freedom of all of our children to design their own social experience as they discover who they are and who they want to be.

Last Name: Caywood Locality: Virginia Beach

I am opposed to HB2170 that would place a barrier in the way of student participation in an extracurricular club that meets before, during, or after regular school hours and that either is officially recognized by the school or meets on school property. Suppose a student wants to join Future Teachers to see if she or he would like that career choice -- requiring parental permission will turn exploration of options into something too formal so the student will be more likely to shrug ans decide it isn't worth the hassle. Suppose a student is thinking of attending an after school Bible Study led by a denomination different from the one the family attends - again, simple exploration and learning will become a much bigger deal that the student is likely to avoid. Or suppose a student who is straight would like to support a friend by attending a Gay-Straight Alliance as an ally, but now will have to have a family discussion of his or her sexual orientation. You know that is highly unlikely to happen. And that makes me wonder if that is the hidden purpose of this bill which will have many unintended consequences. Thus I ask you to oppose HB2170.

Last Name: Karnik Locality: Falls Church

I strongly oppose bill HB2170. High school is supposed to be a chance for students to start gaining a bit of independence and making their own choices. This bill gives an unnecessary level of control to parents. School is also often a safe place for students with an unsafe home life. This bill would mainly affect and target these students and take away the safety and security of extracurricular activities.

Last Name: Singer Locality: Arlington

Exploration and trying on different identities is a part of growing up. We have ALL done it. Its a time when kids can sample different looks, sports, food, friends...and names. It is our responsibility as guardians of kids at school and at home to provide a safe space for those explorations. If a legal name change is desired by the student and their parents, that is the next step, and entirely up to the family. Schools should not insert themselves in those very personal decisions relating to identity, but rather remain neutral. A student should be allowed to be called by whatever name gives them confidence to explore and to grow. THEREFORE I OBJECT TO HB1434 Childhood is a time for kids to connect with others having similar interests, and an easy way to do this is to join a club at school. Most are informal and kids move in and out of them at will. Anyone with a child has seen how powerfully school clubs benefit their child. Joining a club should be easy and available so that children get exposed to many ideas and different ways of thinking. I don’t need to know everything my child is doing at school. I just want him/her/them to have options and feel comfortable exercising those options. Requiring parental permission to join a club will undoubtedly reduce the number of participants in many clubs that are currently thriving because of the hoop jumping required on the part of the student and the adults running the clubs. It will add a whole new layer of administration to the clubs and may even result in less clubs because educators do not want the hassle factor of dealing with parents in a contentious situation between the child and the club. Our kid joined the ASL (American Sign Language) club and told us about it later. Three years into college he is not only fluent in ASL, but is majoring in public policy and advocacy for populations with disabilities. He had the interest and he didn’t need to wait for our permission to explore it. THEREFORE I OBJECT TO HB2170

Last Name: Randall Locality: Fairfax

The changes made by HB2170 - Williams ignore existing safeguards in favor changes that adversely affect children that are already at risk. It is regrettable but many children don't have a safe home to return to after school. These proposed changes would rob them of what safety and security school group can provide to children who returned must return to unsafe homes.

Last Name: FISHER Locality: ASHLAND, VA

This bill will harm LGBTQ+ students by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this bill would bar any child with unsupportive parents or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents from participating.

Last Name: Norwich Locality: Sterling

As a person who legally changed their first and last names by court order as an adult, I strongly object to HB 1434 requiring children to obtain a court order before they can be addressed by a different name in school. It is exceedingly burdensome to change one's name legally, especially first name, as an adult who has already established academic degrees, professional qualifications, financial accounts, utilities, driving record, Social Security and tax records, and the like. It has taken me hundreds of hours to change my name and even lowered my credit score because of financial institutions failing to connect my previous and current names correctly. When a child does not like their given name for some reason, the best time to experiment with a name that feels better to them is before they become an independent adult and start to establish all these official records and accounts. Changing the name that they are called at school is the most effective, low-stakes way they can "try on" a new name and decide if that is how they want to be known for the rest of their life, or not. It makes no sense for a child who is not even old enough to enter into legal contracts to have to get a court order before doing this. I strongly object to HB 2170 requiring written parental consent before any student participates in any school-sponsored activity on school grounds. This legislation is a tool of coercive control, plain and simple. Any activity that poses a safety risk to students will already require that parents sign a liability waiver before the student can participate, so there is no safety rationale for this requirement. Any activity that is not appropriate for students of that particular age group will not be school-sponsored in the first place, as there is already extensive public scrutiny on public schools and the activities they offer. If an activity is not compatible with a family's schedule or budget, then basic logistics will prevent the student from participating. The only remaining rationale to require written parental consent is to give parents total control over their children's access to supportive social and informational environments. This level of control damages children's social and emotional development and puts them at much higher risk of mental health challenges, attempted suicide, and entering into abusive relationships in their adult lives. Public school is designed to be a place where students can safely explore a wide variety of information, perspectives, and types of people and relationships. Giving parents the power to lock their children out of such experiences does nothing but enable abuse by the fraction of parents who will use this tool. My parents had to pay for sectarian schools in order to tightly control my educational and social horizons when I was growing up, and I've had to spend tens of thousands of dollars on therapy to recover from the ways they stunted my social development. As a parent with kids in public schools today, I strongly object to my tax dollars being used to enable other parents to abuse their children the way I was.

Last Name: Robb Locality: Arlington

An important part of kids growing up is getting the opportunity to pursue and explore their own interests, to join clubs to see what they think about them (and possibly discover, as my child did, that they didn't want to do the Dungeons and Dragons club after all). Making parents sign permission forms for every school club adds an annoying level of bureaucracy that discourages kids from trying something new and treats them like they are toddlers. I oppose HB2170

Last Name: Grafsky Locality: Montgomery County

As a Human Development and Family Science scholar and a parent of public school-aged children in the Commonwealth, I strongly oppose this legislation. Both HB 1434 and HB 2170 harm some of the most vulnerable, marginalized, and minoritized students in the Commonwealth. I would first like to make the point that gender diversity is a typical part of human development and we should accept and affirm that our students are coming into their own understanding of themselves. Exploration and commitment to varying aspects of identity are shaped by the people and environments around them. Our schools should be a positive influence on the development, health, and well-being of our students. Many youth go by names other than their legal name, such as nicknames, etc and these often are indicated in school records and class rosters so that teachers and other educational officials address students and use their chosen names. School Personnel are not required and do not notify parents about particular aspects of the psychosocial health and well-being of students or require parent permission for all clubs or para-educational activities. This legislation is a thinly-veiled means of discriminating against gender-minoritized youth, placing them at increased risk of violence, being 'kicked ' of their home, homelessness, suicide, and increased depression and anxiety. All of which have been documented in the scholarly literature. Further, there are numerous reputable scientific studies that demonstrate the need to consider the safety of Trans and Gender Expansive students. For instance, a recent study found that "transgender youth who felt like they belonged at school were about half as likely to have attempted suicide" (Austin, Craig, D’Souza, & McInroy, 2020, p. 15). Research continues to document that support from their parents and schools are some of the most protective factors for trans youths' health and well-being. Moreover, school counselors and other helping professionals working within the public school system are typically governed by their own professional ethics, standards, and regulating bodies. This legislation conflicts with ethical guidelines and codes, typical experience, and best practices of these professions. Further, if school personnel are forced to disclose information to a parent or caregiver where there is suspicion of violence or abuse then they are violating their professional standards and existing state law... or are you intending HB 1434 to condone abuse and violence if the child recipient of the violence has a gender identity is not congruent with their assigned sex at birth? It is critical to understand that this is precisely what this legislation could permit and allow. Schools can serve to facilitate youth development; however, policies that this legislation would require schools to implement would hinder the health and well-being of students in our state. Importantly, this legislation is also counter to allowing local school boards and school districts that represent constituents residing in their local districts to create policies representative of their constituents' perspectives which undermines states-rights principles of our democracy. Let's protect ALL students, refrain from legislative overreach, and avoid political bandwagon legislation. I implore you to use your elected position to protect the youth in the Commonwealth and not put them at risk.

Last Name: Galaxy Locality: Hanover

These bills put Virginia’s youth at risk. By outing them, you are setting these youth up for confrontation, stress, and a higher risk for mental trauma and suicide. These bills are unnecessarily controlling and will only cause more harm.

Last Name: Wolpert Locality: Richmond

Why is the government so obsessed with trans people in schools? Let people live!

Last Name: Levy Locality: Ashland

Dear members of the House Education Early Childhood Subcommittee, My name is Dr. Rachel Levy and I am a teacher and mother of three with a doctorate in educational leadership and policy. I was a 2021 candidate for the House of Delegates in the 55th District and am now one in the newly drawn 59th. I am commenting to state my opposition to two bills before you: HB 1434 (Ballard) and HB 2170 (Williams). These bills are not a judicious use of the public's time and resources. HB 1434 would add a provision to the part of the Code of Virginia that governs student records, requiring that changing a student’s name on official records may only be done following a court ordered change of name. I think this is unduly burdensome, especially since it mandates obtaining a court order. And I can tell you, being a teacher that, it's much easier to get students' preferred names right if it's in the record, and using students' preferred names and pronouns makes establishing a relationship easier. Also, parents do get upset when students' preferences are not respected. HB 2170 would amend the law concerning parental access to educational records, and would require written parental consent before a student may participate in any school-sponsored sport, team, or club, or any sport, team, or club that meets on school property. It also requires the school to notify a parent if a student participates in a sport, team, or club without that written permission. This bill is redundant and unnecessary. We don't need legislation for this. I can tell you as a teacher and parent that most clubs and sports teams affiliated with public schools require permission forms, notifications, and the like. For clubs and groups that are less formal, it's going to be a burden on us parents if we have to sign something every time our child wants to participates in a board game or chess club-type activity. Also, part of the school experience means our children gain some independence and make some choices, when given options, about what to do with their time. Thank you for taking the time to read my comments.

Last Name: Sprout Organization: Equality Virginia Locality: Rockville

I strongly oppose both of these bills. They are discriminatory.

Last Name: Treanor Locality: Rappahannock County

Dear Delegates of the House Education Early Childhood & Innovation Subcommittee, I hope you will vote NO on HB 2170 which would amend the code of Virginia to require that parents acquiesce in writing to their students' joining any school-sponsored sport, team, or club, or any sport, team, or club that meets on school property. This bill takes freedom of choice from especially high school students. High School is a time when students are able to try new activities, try out for sport or club teams, or learn more about other cultures through foreign language clubs. Many parents would be pleased to encourage their students to participate in the local LGBTQ+ Gay Student Alliance or ally clubs so they can learn to become good allies for students who are often targeted within the school community. BUT not all parents would see the wisdom of their child learning more about and getting to know people outside their personal comfort zones. How will they help build a more compassionate world if they are unable to associate with others who are unlike themselves? Thank you for your consideration, Kathryn Treanor 117 Mossie Lane Amissville, VA 20106

Last Name: Grimes Locality: Ashland

This bill is cumbersome for parents and for teachers/school administrators. We should be making participation easy for all kids and safe for all kids to participate in all activities, whether that a child discerning sexual orientation/identity who wants to add a Gay Straight Alliance meeting or a child from a music/arts focused family who wants to try a sport. We need to allow children and teens space to be themselves.

Last Name: Daniel Locality: Locust Grove

These two bills, HB 1434 and HB 2170, need to be struck down. These bills are bad and do nothing but hurt LGBTQIA students. The authors want to do things under the guise of Parental Rights on HB2170, but then take away Parental Rights on HB 1434 by making it burdensome for supportive parents to adjust their kids name on school records without a court order. Instead of discriminating, you should be supporting everyone you represent. If you were old enough, you might remember the "Satanic Panic" of the 1980s. This crap is the new "Satanic Panic", and like we saw then, we will see many of the fear mongering were false, and many reports were stretched to fit a certain narrative. Please vote these policies down.

Last Name: McAteer Organization: Loudoun County High School - GSA Locality: Harpers Ferry

I am a teacher and the faculty sponsor for our GSA. What these two bills, HB 1434 and 2170, propose, is purely and simply a violation of individuals' personal freedoms. These bills would extend the reach of government deep into the personal lives of young Virginians who are otherwise being told to act with maturity, accountability, and to become thoughtful, independent citizens. We know that our LGBTQ+ youth are often the victims of harassment and violence within their own homes, and teachers have always been first responders when a child is experiencing domestic abuse. Children seek out safe spaces and safe adults, even if just for a few hours, to be reminded that they are valued, respected, and appreciated for exactly who they are. Don't restrict their access to extracurriculars like GSAs by requiring permission when a student isn't safe to share their identity at home. To do so is not only unjustifiably paranoid - it could be downright dangerous.

Last Name: Balleisen Organization: Pride Liberation Project Locality: McLean VA

HB 1434 is unfair to students and parents who would have to get a legal document approving they can go by their onw name in school, and is unfair to teachers who are just trying to make their classrooms livable for all students. Additionally, it addresses a non-issue because all students' legal names are already maintained in the system so that they can access things like transcripts. As a high school student, I strongly oppose HB 1434. HB 2170 is a hinderance to all students by adding administrative bureaucracy to the students who are just trying to participate in extracurricular activities. Additionally, it does not target the average student-parent relationship, in which parents will allow students the freedom of choice to chose their extracurriculars. Instead, it causes discord between students who may be facing worry at home due to differencing opinions or experiences from their parents. Students with differing political opinions from their parents will not be able to engage in conversations with likeminded young people, and Queer students will not be able to find a community in clubs like GSAs or PRISM clubs due to fear of parental rejection. As a high school student, I strongly oppose HB 2170.

Last Name: Whitworth Locality: Ashburn

Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive.

Last Name: Zweckbronner Locality: Mechanicsville

Please, please let our children be who they are. Your attempts to stop club attendance is transparent. You want to force students to out themselves to their parents before they are ready. This is an attack on LGBTQ students. Please. Stop this bill.

Last Name: Hurlburt Locality: Prince William County

As a parent of a K12 student and another who graduated from a Virginia public school, I am speaking in opposition to HB1434 and HB2170. Student autonomy is paramount to their well-being and they should be respected as they present themselves, not how anyone else believes they should present themselves. Not all parents/guardians are safe for students to feel they can be their authentic selves and participate in interest clubs with peers and advisors around whom they feel safe. Vote no on both of these bills.

Last Name: Barber Locality: Richmond

Both of these bills seem unnecessary and are designed to infringe of the privacy rights of students. School is a place for students to develop as individuals. It’s where they spend the majority of their time. It should be where they feel most comfortable to engage in their interests and passions. HB2170 creates an unnecessary barrier to self-expression and agency amongst students. Any school group or organization has already been approved by the school itself. Parental approval only opens the door for abusive and controlling parents to have unnecessary power over their students’ school activities. I believe this will negatively impact vulnerable students, looking for safe spaces at school to express their interests and passions. Additionally, HB 1434 is providing a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Not only would this bill unnecessarily punish trans and non-binary students, but it would negatively impact every student who would prefer to be known by a nickname. I see no value or need being served by this bill. Thank you.

Last Name: Allen Organization: Equality Virginia Locality: Rappahannock, Flint Hill

I oppose HB 2170, which would require written parental consent before a student could participate in a school-sponsored sport, team or club, and would require that the school notify a parent if their child was participating without written consent. Youth who come from families that are unsupportive of a child questioning her/his sexuality need to have a school setting that feels safe and inclusive. Requiring written parental consent could prevent a questioning child from participation in a group with peers if s/he is not yet ready to discuss gender or sexual orientation with her/his parents.

Last Name: Allen Organization: Equality Virginia Locality: Rappahannock, Flint Hill

I oppose HB 2170, which would require written parental consent before a student could participate in a school-sponsored sport, team or club, and would require that the school notify a parent if their child was participating without written consent. Youth who come from families that are unsupportive of a child questioning her/his sexuality need to have a school setting that feels safe and inclusive. Requiring written parental consent could prevent a questioning child from participation in a group with peers if s/he is not yet ready to discuss gender or sexual orientation with her/his parents.

Last Name: Mercer Locality: Roanoke City

This bill would harm LGBTQ+ students by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this bill would effectively prevent any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating. Thank you for taking my feedback into consideration.

Last Name: Elliott Organization: Pride Liberation Project Locality: Sussex

I am a student at Appomattox Regional Governor's School. Here, all club meetings happen during school hours. All students are consistently invited to meetings - most clubs have an open door policy, where on different days, for different activities, anyone can choose to join. This makes clubs fun, dynamic! Sometimes I can go to the GSA, and other times I can go to the environmental club - sometimes I stop in on German Club meetings, and of course I am at every art club meeting. But if this policy were passed, could I still do that? Or is this just another policy that will make day-to-day life for students, teachers, administrators, and parents just that much more complicated? Simply, if a teenager can be granted patient confidentiality, the option to be emancipated, the ability to drive, and the ability to work, said teenager can also be granted the ability to decide to join a book club, a GSA, or a soccer team. Why create the unnecessary leg work for club sponsors, students, and parents by giving them yet another set of paperwork to sign? We should not continue to encourage parents to shut their children off from the real world. If our Commonwealth wants to create critically thinking, mature, responsible adults, then we must first create critically thinking, mature, and responsible children. Sheltering a child is not how this happens. Encouraging the intellectual isolation of a child by refusing to allow them to learn about real-world issues is not RAISING a child. If a parent is concerned about their child's involvement in, say, a GSA, then they can have an adult conversation with them. They can sit down and ask them about the club, their activities, and what they learn in it. If they think their child is in danger, they can and should report it. But to entirely cut a child off from a group of people? Is this not ridiculous? Sheltering your children, isolating them from information that has not been sanitized to your tastes, refusing to allow them to choose what to read or who to hang out with until they are eighteen - this is how an irresponsible, uninformed, anti-intellectual child is created. This is NOT protecting a child. Protecting a child is allowing them to experience things that may make them uncomfortable or make YOU uncomfortable, so that you can sit down and discuss those experiences together. I strongly urge this subcommittee to reject this bill. It is antithetical to the values of this Commonwealth and her people.

Last Name: Smith Locality: Arlington

Childhood is a time of exploration and discovery. Its a time when kids can explore different hairstyles, outfits, sports, food, friends ...and names. And just because they try blue hair or a new name doesn’t mean they want to wear it for life. As adults the best thing we can do is to provide a safe space for those explorations. I believe the classroom is one such place. There may come a time when a legal name change is desired by the student and their parents. Until that time a student should be allowed to be called by whatever name gives them confidence to explore and to grow. THEREFORE I OBJECT TO HB1434 Childhood is also a time for kids to connect with others having similar interests. An easy way to do this is to join a club at school. Anyone with a child has seen how school clubs work. By in large, they are informal and kids move in and out of them at will. And just because they join a club doesn’t mean they will stick with it. Honestly, joining a club is not that big of a deal. I don’t need to know everything my child is doing. I just want him to do it. Our kid joined the ASL (American Sign Language) club and told us about it later. Three years into college he is fluent in ASL. He had the interest and he didn’t need to wait for our permission to explore it. THEREFORE I OBJECT TO HB2170

Last Name: Alexander Locality: Oakton

Oppose. Government overreach and burdensome paperwork. Not every parent is as involved as parents should be; unsupportive parents exist, neglectful parents exist, and abusive parents exist. A child who can't get permission from such parents would be barred from sports teams or any extracurricular activity that could provide them support?

Last Name: Quick Locality: Fairfax

Absolutely OPPOSED. Please vote NO.

Last Name: Merrill Locality: Ashland, VA

HB 1434 (Ballard) - Adds unnecessary administrative layers to otherwise easy, common-sense student accomodations. Teacher should not be constrained by extra hoops to accomodate children's perferred names. Parents should not be made to jump through hoops to have the school accommodate their child's perfered name. My child's preferred name is "Trey" but his given/legal name is different. This feels like it should be (and for many IS) a standard practice to call students by their preferred names. Just call students their preferred names and don't make this extra complicated. HB 2170 (Williams) -- This bill seems to want to require more administrative minutia than is necessary, with no honorable purpose. There already exists a process for parent permission for sports. Through the required physical form, parents can opt their kids out of certain sports. Otherwise, the educational process is about children exploring all sorts of activities, ideas, and experiences. Specifically, I'm concerned that LGBT-questioning kids who do not have safe homes would ALSO not feel safe at school without their access to supportive peers and advisors. It is LIFE THREATENING to remove ALL safe spaces for self exploration from LGBT-questioning youth. School should be that space. You cannot stop LGBT youth from existing by removing supports from them, but you can remove their will to live. Let the kids be who they are.

Last Name: Coye Organization: Citizen of the Commonwealth Locality: Kilmarnock

The name of this subcommittee would cause a citizen to believe that its purpose is to enact legislation that will benefit and protect the children and youth of this Commonwealth. Instead, this bill created by responsible adults targets a specific minority group of children who are experiencing gender identity issues and has the potential to cause great harm. As an elected and representative body, I urge you to return to the expectation of the electorate to enact legislation that protects children and youth rather than exploits them for political grandstanding.

Last Name: Bucell Locality: Arlington

HB 1434 (Ballard) This bill has nothing to do with a student's education and adds frivolous constraints to solve something that isn't a problem currently. It puts arbitrary limits on a parent's rights to decide what is best for their child and unduly strains teachers who want to respect their students by using the name without compromising their safety. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. HB 2170 (Williams) This is also unnecessary and addressing something that isn't a problem. If a school needs written parental permission for any club or meeting on school property, there can be no more ad-hoc meetings. It is an unnecessary administrative burden on schools that seeks to strip students of safety where after school programs may provide refuge from poverty or abuse. Schools are places of exploration and learning; there are plenty of constraints on schools and parental responsibility for participation that do not require this law; Virginia should not become a state that codifies bullying into law. This would disproportionately impact LGBTQ students in GSAs, which are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Chambers Organization: Self Locality: Ashland, VA

As an educator I oppose this!

Last Name: Kriener Putman Locality: Alexandria, VA

I am writing to oppose this bill, as it will put children at an unnecessary risk. I am a LCSW who has worked with children and teenagers for over 20 years. I have worked with individuals who are exploring an interest, maybe it is an LGBTQIA+ identity, or maybe it is wanting to experience a new activity or club in their school. There is a particular risk when we are talking about students who identify as LGBTQIA+. In my experience, children from many different kinds of family situations, and those from unsafe family situations have often seen school as a safe place. A place where there are people who care about them, who want to see them succeed. This is so important when home can be a scary, unsafe, abusive, dark place. School clubs and activities provide a wonderful, safe place for students to hang out after school. They have the opportunity to have somewhere to go, stay off devices, get to know others and different perspectives. They are at school, and not out potentially causing trouble. Clubs that are geared toward students who are exploring their sexuality are super important. Often, they are the only places where students can talk about complicated feelings about themselves, their identity, and feel safe, and not judged. All students in Virginia deserve to feel safe, loved, cared for, supported, and to feel seen. Not every family is equipped to help their children in this way. Those children are at risk of being abused, self-harm, and suicidal ideation and attempt. The last thing any responsible and caring Virginian wants is for a kid to be harmed or to feel the only way out is by suicide. These students deserve our support without reservation. These students deserve to have a place where they can be themselves without being afraid. These students deserve to know that there is someone who loves and cares for them, so they can be ready to talk to their parents, when they are ready. Students have the right to safe and secure educational environments, at all levels of education, in which children, youths, and adults may obtain an education and participate fully in all aspects of school, including clubs, free from discrimination, harassment, violence, and abuse. They have the right to confidentiality and access to culturally competent staff and volunteers. Please consider the rights and safety of students as you make this decision. This is not about politics, there are real people and real lives that will be affected.

Last Name: Fink Locality: Henrico

These bills are completely unnecessary and hamper the freedoms of young, mostly LGBT individuals to live healthy and productive lives. It is legislation like this that stifles people and creates an environment that makes them feel unwelcome for being different; it also puts an already dangerously on-edge group at even greater risk of self harm, depression and suicide which is the opposite of what we need. Laws like these are disrespectful and hurtful and have no place in the commonwealth.

Last Name: Kersey Locality: Mechanicsville

This bill has no value other than out a child who has not been able to receive the support needed at home. This bill will take away a refuge for any LGBTQ + student and place them into a potentially dangerous abusive environment at home if it is not already.

Last Name: Kersey Locality: Mechanicsville

This bill has no value other than out a child who has not been able to receive the support needed at home. This bill will take away a refuge for any LGBTQ + student and place them into a potentially dangerous abusive environment at home if it is not already.

Last Name: King Locality: Goochland

I'm disappointed at these pointless, cruel examples of unnecessary government overreach. What happened to freedom and individual choice? While I am not LGBTQ, I am an immigrant and my legal first name at birth was not easily pronounceable. I could have teachers call me by my preferred name just by asking, and that's that. It meant that I could get through classes with my preferred name, being seen as a whole person. Regardless of their identity, all individuals, including kids, should have that right and it's ludicrous to have to get courts involved for that basic bit of kindness and decency. Likewise, the idea that students need parental permission for something as simple as a school club or activity or athletics is ludicrous. This is why kids these days are weak and struggling when they enter the workforce - helicopter parenting to the point where kids grow into adults who need their parents' help navigating job interviews. So let's put a government mandate on helicopter parenting and dig heels in, right? Wrong! Parents should have the right to raise kids to be independent free-thinking citizens without egregious government overreach like this. We don't live in a police state like North Korea or Iran. It would behoove our elected officials to protect our constitution instead of sliding down the slippery slope of trading in the opportunities for our children to practice exercising their freedom in safe settings like schools instead of normalizing police state kind of authoritarian practice.

Last Name: Priestman Locality: Arlington

Bill 1434: This bill is unnecessary and doesn't serve any educational purposes. It creates barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. It also ties teachers' hands when they want to create a welcoming classroom for all students. It forces them to "out" trans kids by the names on their records. Bill 2170: GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating. This bill would eliminate this safe space for these students. Without the support of the safe space, we are knowingly increasing the possibility of high risk behaviors.

Last Name: Thorp Locality: NORFOLK

Forced outing will get kids hurt. Schools are supposed to protect kids. Not every parent is accepting and kids deserve to decide when they tell their stories. Teachers should not be required to suspect and tell on queer kids. There are plenty of reasons why kids should be able to choose their own after school activities. Moreover, kids with neglectful parents and guardians won't be able to participate in anything if written consent is required for after school events. Schools should be safe havens for students to be themselves and foster social connections with peers. Lgbtq children deserve this privilege just like non lgbtq children. They should not be forced to out themselves. This is unjust.

Last Name: Pitman Locality: Chesterfield

Ballard creates more problems than it solves. Children may want to be called something else at any given time and there should be room to explore names and identities without barriers placed on them. Williams creates an environment where students may be unable to participate in clubs or activities they want to participate in. Children aren't their parents' property and deserve to have lives outside of their parents' wishes and desires for them. They deserve to have autonomy and be treated as individual humans who can be trusted to learn about themselves and grow. In addition, these bills would create an onerous environment for teachers, who are already shouldering more than they should. They're unneeded and unwanted.

Last Name: Alexander Organization: Equality Virginia Locality: Oakton

HB 1434 (Ballard): please oppose this bill because being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students regardless of gender or gender identity need to feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. Being recognized is part of being included. Having people call you by the name and pronouns you are most comfortable with and reflect who you are is part of feeling safe. This bill denies safety and inclusion to specific students on the grounds that other people do not like their name or their pronouns. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. This would result in extra case loads for courts and tying up court resources. This bill is bad for youth, their parents, Virginia courts, and ultimately all Virginians. HB 2170 (Williams): I ask that you oppose this bill because it will be used to target LGBTQ+ children and expose them to potential violence at home. The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. This can expose vulnerable youth to abuse and neglect at the hands of unsupportive or actively hostile parents. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Girard Locality: Fluvanna County

HB1434 and HB2170 are clearly meant to punish and further alienate LGBTQ+ youth and will put extra burdens on the schools. STRONGLY OPPOSE.

Last Name: Moore Locality: Virginia Beach

As a trans parent of a trans child I am horrified and disgusted by these bills. They are harming trans kids and families NOT helping. Please don't let these pass, this is truly unfair and even cruel. Please don't continue dragging our country down the drain, be on the side of progress. Have compassion for those different than you. These bills have great potential to destroy actual lives.

Last Name: Christ Locality: Alexandria (Fairfax County)

I am writing to ask that both these bills be rejected. Both proposed pieces of legislation have the potential to cause unnecessary mental/emotional harm to young people who are transgender or questioning their sexuality. These students should be allowed to be called as they wish at school and to attend LGBTQ+ clubs/meetings without having to worry about getting permission from potentially unsupportive parents. These young people have enough stresses in their lives already; please don't make them feel even more unwelcome or stressed about their school experiences.

Last Name: Kirby Organization: Kirby Creative Clinical Solutions, LLC Locality: Fairfax County

Kids should be able to enjoy a club without parent's permission. School should be a place for kids to explore new interests and meet new friends without fear of their parent's disapproval. Such a law has never been necessary before and is not appropriate now!

Last Name: Keuntje Locality: Woodbridge

I’m writing to express my opposition to any bill that limits the autonomy of a youth related to their identity, expression or their ability to progress through a path of development that makes sense for them, children are not the property of their parents and laws requiring they informed of their participation in clubs puts them at risk of abuse from controlling violent adults. These laws would exacerbate condictions that lead to youth depression and suicide. Furthermore, there is no (legitimate) evidence provided that these laws will fix any problem other than adults perhaps having to face the fact they do not and cannot control their children into being or becoming something they are not. Please spend legislative efforts providing healthy parenting and human rights training in high schools and in our public health system.

Last Name: Glanzman Locality: Virginia Beach

As a Virginia-certified high school teacher, I am horrified by HB 1434 and HB 2170. Anyone who is naive enough to believe that ALL parents are supportive of their child's gender/sexuality is blind to the much more pressing issue: Homelessness and abuse of LGBTQ+ youth. Forcibly outing LGBTQ+ children is sick and wrong. Of course, all schools should strive to work with parents as much as possible, but not at the expense of the child. If a child is not "out" to their parents, the school system would do well to assume it is for a good reason and none of their business.

Last Name: Cinalli-Mathews Locality: Charlottesville

OPPOSE 1434: This bill is an example of unnecessary paperwork that will not improve the lives of children. It is common for teens and pre-teens to explore new identities and nicknames; why create onerous paperwork around this normal wish? Furthermore, for youth who are transgender and building up the support network they need, taking away school as a safe place is heartbreaking and potentially life threatening. Please oppose this useless bill. OPPOSE 2170 This is another unnecessary bill. Trust teachers and schools to interact with parents as needed to support their students. As a social worker of 20 years, I have worked with hundreds and hundreds of Virginia students for whom home is not a safe place. Many of them seek support, connection, and safety at school when it is lacking in their family. Let's not make it harder for schools to be that safe place.

Last Name: Anderson Locality: Falls Church

I write to oppose HB2170 and urge you to vote against it. This bill is unnecessary: students already have to get parental permission for a host of school-recognized activities including sports, academic teams, field trips, and more. School-sponsored clubs already have adult supervision by qualified teachers and school staff, so student safety should be assured. Students and parents already deal with the practical day-to-day aspects of before- and after-school activities regularly when they figure out drop-off and pick-up times and arrange child care. School clubs are often comforting spaces for students who are exploring their artistic, athletic, mathematical, and musical selves. This is even more true for clubs such as Gay-Straight Alliances that provide a refuge for some of our most vulnerable students: those who are understanding their identity, gender, and/or sexuality. Barring those students from GSAs and similar clubs because their parents are unsupportive or because the students aren't yet ready to discuss their gender or sexual identities with their parents puts those children at greater risk. HB2170 is unnecessary for students overall, and harmful for our most vulnerable students. I urge you to vote no on HB2170.

Last Name: Keuntje Locality: Prince William county

HB1434 It is imperative that students be allowed to request to be called a chosen name and that they are granted that request. How is it harmful that a student ask to go by a chosen name? Does every Bobby have to have his name legally changed from Robert to go by Bobby? Will Danny have to legally change his name from Daniel? What about Becky? Or Mike? Or Billy? Come on - this is clearly an attack on trans kids and serves no purpose but to isolate and harm them. This bill must not pass. HB2170 Children need various avenues for exploring life and their place in it. Those avenues need to be safe; exploration cannot happen without safety. Exploration is a normal part of growing up and living life. It is unequivocally unsafe for many children when their attendance in GSAs is made public to their parents who may not be supportive, at best, and, at worst, engage abusively in reaction to their awareness of their child attending a GSA at school. For many children, it is undeniably unsafe for their parents to know of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. Many children are physically abused, verbally abused, and some are disowned and kicked out of their homes when parents learn of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. It is not a danger for kids to attend these clubs and engage in self-exploration. First, because there is absolutely nothing wrong with varying gender identities and/or sexual orientations. Secondly, because learning and exploring is a healthy aspect of life. This bill is absolutely another attack on LGBTQ+ kids and a threat to the larger community. This bill must not pass.

Last Name: Weathersby Locality: Charlottesville

I urge the committee to oppose HB 1434 and 2170 as they would endanger LGBTQ+ children in the Commonwealth. Requiring court orders for name changes puts an unnecessary burden on youth who simply want to be addressed differently. Studies show that referring to transgender youth by their desired name and pronoun reduces the risk of suicidal ideation and self-harm; providing legal and fiscal barriers to affirming treatment will only worsen the mental health status of these youth. Requiring parental notification and permission to attend student clubs endangers youth with unsupportive parents. LGBTQ+ youth or even cisgender, straight youth allies may be met with forced homelessness, removal from the public school system, or physical/emotional/verbal violence if their parent is informed they are attending a school gay-straight alliance or other club motivated by LGBTQ+ rights. Being in these clubs allow students to connect with their peers, develop healthy social skills within a school setting, and connect with the school or community resources supervising club activities. There is no evidence that participation in school clubs without parental notification or permission puts students at risk.

Last Name: Lasso Locality: Loudoun

Against these bills

Last Name: Vogel Locality: Falls Church City

The most obvious way this bill would harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs often serve as a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating and learning in such GSAs. I oppose this harmful bill and call for its defeat.

Last Name: Dunham Locality: Fluvanna

Both of these bills are unnecessary and worse., harmful to our youth. By respecting a student’s preferred name (not legally changing it, simply referring to a student by the name they choose) we are respecting them. School may be the one safe haven for some students where they can be accepted as they are. Bill 2170 is particularly dangerous and ludicrous. Since when do students need permission to join the chess club?! Joining the Gay Straight Alliance could be literally a life saver for many students especially those who might not want their parents to know they are gay yet or are shunned and rejected at home for being LGBTQIA+. Neither of these bills serves any positive purpose and both are harmful.

Last Name: Wilson Locality: Chesapeake

I am a parent of three children in public school in Virginia and I strongly oppose HB 2170. Notifying parents of every extracurricular activity their student may attend is a ridiculous measure. My kid's school doesn't even have the staff or resources to notify me when their bus won't be coming. This bill would be a waste of time and resources. We should be encouraging students to be involved in any activity that may interest them. I believe this bill would hinder students from learning and trying new things. It should be up to the school or sponsor's discretion whether parental notification is reasonable and necessary based on what type of program or activity it is.

Last Name: Gray Locality: Free Union

Both bills show an utter lack of understanding of what difficulties a trans child may be going through. All students should feel safe in school and these bills will make trans children feel unsafe and put them in potentially dangerous situations. Where is the fear coming from that bills of this nature are even being considered. And why this backlash now. Legislators are trying to put forward a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Let the children alone and stop legislation that is dangerous to trans children.

Last Name: Graff Locality: Arlington

Please stop using trans and gender-diverse kids as a battleground for political fights. There is nothing to be gained by either of these proposed bills, and plenty of harm that they could cause. Requiring extra permissions / steps for name changes and club participation was not deemed necessary in the past, and nothing has changed to merit these new requirements now. It is hard enough to be a trans / gender-diverse youth, and it is hard enough for supportive parents to advocate for the needs of their trans / gender-diverse children. There is no reason to make it even harder.

Last Name: Conroy Locality: Alexandria

I OPPOSE THESE BILLS - these bills may cause unnecessary harm and trauma to students/children especially transgender students and students who don't have a safe space at home to be themselves.

Last Name: Brown Organization: Equality Virginia Locality: Henrico

House Bill 2170 (Williams) My name is L.F. Brown and I write in OPPOSITION to House Bill 2170 (Williams) as it infringes on the rights of SUPPORTIVE PARENTS, as well as, gender expansive, non-binary, and transgender youth who seek to participate in school sanctioned clubs or activities absent parental consent. Every school district in Virginia allows for student participation in ALL clubs within the structure of the school day. House Bill 2170 (Williams) would place an undue burden on school administration, coaches, mentors and other school staff who will then be required to maintain a substantial record keeping system, engage in constant parent communication or provide other necessary methods of monitoring. Within the context of school sanctioned clubs, Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) serve as a refuge for young people who are questioning their sexuality. GSAs provide an opportunity for students to not only engage in meaningful discussions about gender identity but also allows students to process emotions and develop the language to talk with their parents about their sexuality, especially those students with unsupportive or disapproving parents. Taking away the opportunity to participate in a school sponsored club or activity absent parent consent will cause irreparable harm to students. In my opinion, House Bill 2170 (Williams) is a solution in search of a problem. I strongly OPPOSE this bill.

Last Name: Dillon Locality: Loudoun County, Leesburg

I oppose HB 2170. Students should be allowed to explore club and activities offered at their school without needing written parental consent in order to participate. Young people have a wide variety of interests that does not always align with their parents interests. They should not be limited and discouraged from exploring their interests. In addition, GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating. Young people need to have safe places and adults in school. If they can't find a refuge their mental health is at risk.

Last Name: Parker Locality: Richmond

The text of this bill proposes "The prior written consent of the parent of a public school pupil is required for the pupil to participate on any school-sponsored athletic or academic team or in any extracurricular club that meets before, during, or after regular school hours and that either is officially recognized by the school or meets on school property. The school shall notify any such parent when the pupil participates on any such team or in any such club without the prior written consent of the parent that is required by this subsection." This proposal will generate more paperwork and headaches for teachers and coaches who are just trying to help kids be well-rounded and give them opportunities to try new activities. Sponsors of things like art club or audio-visual club don't want the hassle of more paperwork; teachers are already swamped as it is. The club sponsors will be kicking kids out of clubs because they've forgotten to bring back their permission slip. Or clubs will plain just disappear because of all the unnecessary red tape required for kids to participate. I also would like to know how school staff are supposed to keep track of the clubs and participants that merely use school property. This is really just a back-door proposal to try to stop schools from hosting clubs that support LGBTQ+ students and to 'out' students who think they may be LGBTQ+ to their parents who may be unsupportive and possibly even abusive, or just to have those kids not have place to meet supportive individuals. Teenagers especially should be able to make their own choices about clubs to join and what new things they want to try out in service of developing their identity; their developmental stage means that they should not have parents micromanaging their interests and activities and giving/denying permission for every action the teenager wants to make.

Last Name: Cowden Locality: Arlington

The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Santry Locality: Arlington

As a parent in Northern Virginia of school age children, I am reaching out to offer my unequivocal support of both HB 1434 (Ballard) which would require that changing a student’s name on official records may only be done following a court ordered change of name, and HB 2170 (Williams) which would require written parental consent before a student may participate in any school-sponsored sport, team, or club, or any sport, team, or club that meets on school property. Giving schools the authority over a child's name and identity in order to deceive parents divides families and the hearts and minds of children who need their support.

Last Name: Kelley Locality: Alexandria

I strongly oppose both HB2170 and HB1434. I grew up in socially isolated and repressive religious environment, where contact with people outside the religion was actively discouraged. Growing up, many of my friends wanted to meet other people, but overly zealous and protective parents blocked their attempts in an authoritarian stint. It irreparably damaged us all, even if some of us never did realize it. Doubtless the advantages for students to engage in GSAs are understood, namely the freedom to interact with their peers and opportunities they provide, but beyond that the opportunity for students who live in unwelcoming, unsafe, or abusive (physically or emotionally) homes on a daily basis need the chance to talk to their peers without the leering oversight of their parents. Students aren't wild animals that need a tight collar and a leash to keep them in line. Some of my friends wouldn't even ask their parents since they knew it would only get them in trouble. Trauma can make them mature at a terrifying rate, and those that are the most mature need the least oversight. Their decisions are sound, but that oversight is dangerous. Passing HB2170 would push the same kind of authoritarian monitoring I was subjected to onto every student in the state, creating needless bureaucratic oversight for students whose parents are supportive but providing endless opportunities for continued psychological abuse and the stunting of our students who are most in need of help. As a transgender Virginian who just got finished changing her name, I am outraged at the suggestion of HB1434. It took me almost a year of experimenting to figure out what name to use, the paperwork was another matter, the delays, and , all to be formally recognized by the same name I used to introduce myself. What is this meant to solve? It has nothing to do with education, only bureaucracy, and accomplishes nothing but hindering supportive parents, teachers, and peers. Supportive teachers are going to have a heck of a time keeping the 2 names straight (I still get deadnamed out of habit), and a single slip up can subject a student who would otherwise be clear to the mockery of their peers! Even if it doesn't, the constant dread of that happening is tormenting and cripples their ability to learn. To promote learning, our schools need to be safe environments where students can be who they are without fear of reprisal.

Last Name: Alderman Locality: Crozet

HB1396: Please don't funnel public school funds toward private schools. If people want to send their kids to private school, they can pay for it themselves. HB1397: My kids go to public schools. Vaccination requirements keep them and their fellow students safe. Vaccinations are not an individual choice; they're a matter of public health. HB1434: Let kids get called whatever name they want at school. It's neither a problem nor an urgent matter for the legislature. Picking on trans kids just for being trans seems like pretty vile bullying, especially on the part of supposedly responsible adults like the Legislature. HB2170: Kids shouldn't need their parents' permission to take part in a school program. Especially if having to get it might out them to parents who'd make their home lives needlessly miserable. HB1566: My kids have been blessed to have outstanding teachers. Paying teachers more is an excellent and worthy use of my tax dollars. HB2031: Sounds like a win-win for Virginia farmers and schools. An excellent idea.

Last Name: Smith Locality: McLean

I oppose these bills.

Last Name: Beg Locality: Arlington

I oppose HB1434 and HB2170.

Last Name: Chovitz Locality: Arlington

HB1434 - Ballard: This bill seems unnecessary in light of the number of children referred to as Dan, Will, Ken, Beth, Maggie, and Liz throughout their school years. While schools offer a preferred name, they don't often use it. My child has chosen a name used in every facet of his life, including at home and there's no value in requiring a court document to use a different name. HB2170 - Williams: A parent's signature seems reasonable for medical treatment in the event of an accident or injury, but even these forms are not approvals to join sports teams, only about waiving rights and indemnifying schools. A child interested in art club, key club, debate, or other clubs gains no benefits or protections from a parent's signature. The signature, not being notarized, isn't any sort of proof of approval in any case. Since all clubs are vetted through the school and include a teacher-sponsor and are held outside of school hours, a parent's signature does not indicate approval. I don't recall being asked to sign a form to approve my child's elective courses and these are during school hours. My signature for a field trip is generally for approval to miss school, not approval to participate. This bill seems aimed at parents that may object to their children participating in clubs like GSAs, not recognizing that the club's very name includes an "alliance" between those who are gay and those who are straight and may often include children who simply want to support friends that identify themselves as something other than straight. Since GSA's are held with school oversight, a parent's signature should not be a requirement for participation. Many thanks for the opportunity to comment.

Last Name: Mathews Locality: Charlottesville

HB 2170 (Williams) - Oppose. Back in my school days, sometimes I would stay after school because I was a latchkey kid and I would get bored at home alone. I helped build sets for plays with the drama club, and I learned chess with the chess club. And most importantly, I made friends. None of my after school clubs involved getting my busy, working parents to sign a single form. Please get out of here with these unnecessary regulations. This type of red tape is not needed in our schools. We have so many great schools in this state. Our amazing teachers do not need extra stacks of paperwork for every sport and/or club. Strongly oppose.

Last Name: Bost Locality: Vienna

I strongly oppose HB 1434 (Ballard). This bill is unnecessary and does not serve any educational purposes. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. It also ties teachers' hands, who want to be supportive of their kids and create a welcoming classroom for all students, but are put in a difficult position to out trans kids by the names on their records. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school or any place. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. I strongly oppose HB 2170 (Williams). The most obvious way this could harm students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs (gay-straight alliance OR genders and sexualities alliance) or QSAs (queer straight alliance) or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs/QSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Underwood Locality: Midlothian, VA

I am a resident of Midlothian, VA and a parent of two children in Chesterfield County Public Schools - one high schooler and one middle schooler. I firmly oppose HB 1434. Existing laws already govern student names and educational records, making this law unnecessary. Schools already have systems in place to manage student names in the areas the existing laws do not cover (such as informal class rolls, club rosters, yearbooks, etc). This bill would place an unnecessary and heavy burden on parents and students and involve the court system in a matter that should be between parents, their child, and the child’s school. The bill would also overly burden schools and administrators with additional processes and procedures that are not needed. If passed, the bill would make it more difficult for parents and teachers to provide supportive environments for LGBTQ+ kids. All youth deserve to be treated with respect and dignity in school, and being called the right name and pronouns is an important part of that. I also firmly oppose HB 2170. Both of my children are involved in multiple clubs and school activities. I want them to have the freedom to explore different interests in the safe environment that school provides - requiring my advanced written permission takes away flexibility and exploration that I want them to have. The school already requires parent permission for activities where safety is a concern (such as trying out for a school sport, using woodworking tools to build a set for the school play, or going on a field trip). Requiring parent permission for general clubs and activities does not make my student safer at school and may make other students unsafe at home. If a school is required to notify parents that their child attended an LGBTQ+ inclusive club, it could prevent that child from having a supportive space. They may have unsupportive parents and the club is the only safe place they have access to. Or, like many youth, they may be exploring their gender and sexuality in an age and developmentally appropriate way and trying to prepare themselves to have that discussion with their parents. My children are cisgender, so you may wonder why I am speaking against these bills. I believe all children deserve to attend schools where they are safe, supported, and included. Bills like these do irreparable harm to LGBTQ+ youth and that is unacceptable to me. More selfishly, I want my children to feel safe and supported in school and I know that cannot happen when certain groups of students are targeted and excluded. I am urging you to vote to not move these bills out of the subcommittee.

Last Name: Barnick Locality: Stafford

These bills are unnecessary and potentially harmful to some of our most at-risk young people. Students should feel safe and free to explore who they are and who they are becoming as they grow up. If they don't feel supported and or safe at home, we should not be removing the safety of schools from their lives. It's government overreach and teachers have more than enough to deal with already without adding these requirements.

Last Name: Marshall Locality: Chester

I oppose these bills which simply serve to harm and violate the human rights of trans and queer students.

Last Name: Clark Locality: Alexandria

I oppose these two bulls. As a parent of a LGBTQ+ youth, I resent the efforts to take away our vulnerable students rights and protections. I will be paying close attention to how these bills are handled and which members support them.

Last Name: Sanders Locality: Fredericksburg

As a public school teacher, I OPPOSE both of these bills. My LGBTQ+ students deserve safety and privacy. Both of these bills would forcibly out students to their families, many of which are not safe places for students to be openly LGBTQ+. School can be a safe haven for students, especially as they learn more about themselves and start to figure out who they are. Both of these bills demonstrate government interference with the privacy of these students and their right to share their stories with their loved ones when they are ready. There is no need for either of these bills, and they will do nothing but harm some of our most vulnerable students.

Last Name: Kudej Locality: HAYMARKET

I have lived in VA for close to 60 years now. I grew up in the 70's . I believe in that all humans have the right to live freely and in safety, and am horrified what is going on right now in VA. I am speaking out. My own daughter (Marja V. Kudej) was an advocate and ally for LGTBQ+ youth and I am following in her footsteps. Sadly she passed away almost one year ago. I remember her telling me that she felt like a boy when she was a young teen and I only wish I knew then, what I know now. It is my mission to help as many as I can now in her honor. Regarding LGBTQ+ youth, are you aware that this is a group of very vulnerable young people who just want to be accepted? They are not a threat to anyone. Instead, they need support and inclusion. They need to feel safe and school is one of the best places for them to do that. Statistics show a very high rate of suicide, substance abuse, violence and homelessness impacting this group and it is not okay. We need to help them - not hurt them. https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth.htm Please don't make their lives worse! Don't take their right to live safely away.

Last Name: Golino Locality: Sterling

Could cause harm to lgbtq children seeking connection with others who don’t have supportive parents.

Last Name: Voie Locality: Reston

Both HB 1434 and 2170 should be opposed. These most obviously harm LGBT+ youth in our schools as I’m sure you’re hearing in other comments. However, HB 1434 will also place undue burden on all children who chose to use a chosen name regardless of reason. Petitioning the courts for a legal name change is not a trivial process. Even if the child is in the process of petitioning the court for a name change, they will be stuck with their birth name in the mean-time. Having gone through this process myself, I would like to point out two things: children can be cruel and a change in name is least noticeable when classmates change. If a student’s name changes mid-term, that is practically begging their classmates to tease or bully them for it. This will be the reality for too many children when a kinder alternate is available. We let children use the name they feel best suits them regardless of what their birth certificate says. Similarly, while I believe HB 2170 is designed to out queer children to their unsupportive parents, it will catch many others in the crossfire. Any child who has an interest they would like to pursue in spite of their parent’s opinion will not be able to explore this interest in a safe, school sanctioned environment. Some of my classmates were only able to learn art through school clubs because their parents thought their attention was better spent on improving their grades in STEM classes who now make their money in the arts. Should these people have been prevented from learning skills which lead to their careers which they gladly pursue rather than burning out in a path their parents chose? I don’t think so, and it is cruel to steal these opportunities from today and tomorrow’s students.

Last Name: Rahaman Organization: Equality Virginia Locality: Richmond

Chair Coyner and Members of the House Early Childhood/Innovation SubCommittee, Equality Virginia strongly opposes HB 1434 and HB 2170 because of their potential to create hostile learning environments for LGBTQ+ students in Virginia's K-12 schools. HB 1434 would add a provision to the part of the Code of Virginia that governs student records, requiring that changing a student’s name on official records may only be done following a court ordered change of name. HB 1434, like many of the bills we see targeting LGBTQ+ youth, is a solution in search of a problem. This bill does not serve any educational purposes. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. Additionally, HB 1434 would require so much of our Virginia teachers, who should be granted the space to be supportive of their students and create a welcoming classroom for, but are put in a difficult position to out transgender or nonbinary kids by the names on their records. Being called by the right names is an important part of belonging in school. All students, including LGBTQ+ students, should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. HB 2170 would amend the law concerning parental access to educational records, and would require written parental consent before a student may participate in any school-sponsored sport, team, or club, or any sport, team, or club that meets on school property. It also requires the school to notify a parent if a student participates in a sport, team, or club without that written permission. HB 2170 could harm LGBTQ+ students by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are hoping to better understand their gender or sexuality, and HB 2170 would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating. The mere introduction of these bills is likely already having a devastating impact on the mental health of some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community. According to a recent survey by the Trevor Project, 86% of transgender and nonbinary youth say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people, like HB 1434 and HB 2170, have negatively impacted their mental health. A majority of those trans youth (55%) said it impacted their mental health “very negatively.” 71% of LGBTQ+ youth — including 86% of trans and nonbinary youth — say state laws restricting the rights of LGBTQ+ young people have negatively impacted their mental health. New policies that require schools to tell a student’s parent or guardian if they request to use a different name, or if they identify as LGBTQ+ at school make 67% of transgender and nonbinary youth feel angry, 54% feel stressed, 51% feel scared, 46% feel nervous, and 43% feel sad. LGBTQ young people are watching, and internalizing the anti-LGBTQ messages they see in the media and from their elected officials. It is for these reasons we ask you to oppose HB 1434 and HB 2170. Narissa S. Rahaman Executive Director Equality Virginia

Last Name: Fontaine-Rasaiah Organization: Pride Liberation Project Locality: McLean

I am in complete and total opposition of HB 1434 and HB 2170. As a senior at Langley High School, I speak for the more than 1,000 people who walked out this past September to oppose similar policies regarding trans and student rights. This bill would essentially be telling students that we do not care about your individual identity or interests. As a student, I feel extremely lucky to be able to explore the variety of clubs at my school and be called my a name I’m comfortable with. School clubs and sports are safe spaces for students to explore their interest. Keep schools student-focused, speaking as a student and for students in Virginia.

Last Name: Fox Locality: Richmond

I strongly oppose these two bills and feel that they would be so incredibly detrimental to youth who are simply wanting support and love from those at home and also at school. Do not pass these bills, the suicide rates for individuals 12-17 years old continue to climb each year because of a lack of acceptance and support (or even just tolerance) they experience from those around them. Please do not make the grave mistake of passing these two bills.

Last Name: Cleva Locality: Arlington

I am strongly opposed to HB 1434 (Ballard), which would add a provision to the part of the Code of Virginia that governs student records, requiring that changing a student’s name on official records may only be done following a court-ordered change of name. This bill is unnecessary and doesn't serve any educational purposes. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. The bill would also restrict teachers from creating a welcoming classroom for all students, and put teachers in the terrible position of potentially outing trans kids by using the names on their records. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included to learn and thrive. I also oppose HB 2170 (Williams), which would amend the law concerning parental access to educational records, and would require written parental consent before a student may participate in any school-sponsored sport, team, or club, or any sport, team, or club that meets on school property. It also requires the school to notify a parent if a student participates in a sport, team, or club without that written permission. The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating. I strongly hope neither bill advances out of subcommittee tomorrow.

Last Name: Williams Organization: American Atheists Locality: Richmond

OPPOSE HB 2170, Testimony from American Atheists in opposition to the so-called “Parents’ Bill of Rights”

Last Name: Staron Locality: Fairfax

My brother in christ. People got to grow up, people are going to be gay and trans. I know some folks thinks that with these bills their kids are going to somehow catch “the gay” at school but it doesn’t work like that, this is just the same cycle of censoring groups for sake of maintaining oppression. History repeats itself, and we always progress. We shouldn’t be passing backwards laws like this, it is going to kick you in the ass when your kid is trans and you have to choose whether you love hate more than you love them. I am not even part of the LGBT community I just see that this is wrong. I don't know, hope this finds you well. -Jim

Last Name: Briggs Locality: Augusta County

The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Braddock Locality: Arlington County

HB1434 - I am writing to express my strong opposition to this bill. For the political party of "Don't Tread On Me", this seems like a major overreach into citizen's private lives. The decision to allow a child to change a name (related to gender, divorce and remarriage, or simply hating one's birth name) belongs to child and their legal guardian/parent. The idea of dragging a child through the court order process to let a court decide whether the parent and child's right to a name change is absurd. What child of divorce needs to be reminded that their parents have legally unbound and that they need to legally unbind their name as well? More worrisome is the idea that a state entity has the authority over a family's decision to change a name for self expression, speech, religion, gender identity, or a person's right to live differently. No person should have to prove to the local, politically appointed judge that they have provided sufficient evidence as to why a name change is necessary. HB2170 - This is another politically motivated attempt for the state to burrow its way into limiting education opportunities for students and overstepping into the lives of children. If the activities within a state school are deemed developmentally and age appropriate by the professionals running the institution, and the parents of each school student has willfully enrolled their child/children in the state school system, then there should be no reason to require a letter of permission for attending school sanctioned programs of any kind. The state has hired the staff and faculty of each state school and has vouched for their professional credentials as educators. If the state cannot trust its educators to offer programming that is age, development, and emotionally appropriate for its students, then the state should rethink its own criteria for hiring staff. If parents don't like the offerings of their state funded schools, they have the option of choosing a private, charter, or home school environment for their children.

Last Name: Macinnis Locality: Fairfax Station

We need to move towards inclusion in school, not to isolate students from each other even more. It is very important for a developing child to accept themself and for others to accept them for who they are.

Last Name: Seyba Locality: Yorktown VA

I oppose HB2170! 1The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. -GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Rieder Organization: Equality UUCA (Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington) Locality: Arlington

Children possess inherent worth, dignity, and agency. Depriving students of the ability to explore their interests, already within a well-regulated school environment, makes very little educational sense. Where are the lines to be drawn? Is the intent only to go after students interested in finding the language for gender identity, which would be a reprehensible misuse of authority, or could this be used by parents to take their children out of school newspaper and yearbook staffs, for example, where they might express an opinion different from the parents' beliefs? What about Bible study? There are quite literally an endless list of things students are interested in that aren't covered in the regular curriculum. What exactly is the purpose in creating an administrative burden that deprives students of taking initiative for their own learning and development? One can well imagine this provision opening quite a can of worms, including students' constitutional rights to free association and free speech. Vote no on HB 2170

Last Name: Ross Locality: Charlottesville

The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Mason Locality: Virginia Beach

HB 1434 (Ballard) - EV Opposes Bill Description: This bill would add a provision to the part of the Code of Virginia that governs student records, requiring that changing a student’s name on official records may only be done following a court ordered change of name. Talking Points: This is a solution in search of the problem. It's unnecessary and doesn't serve any educational purposes. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. It also ties teachers' hands, who want to be supportive of their kids and create a welcoming classroom for all students, but are put in a difficult position to out trans kids by the names on their records. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. Because of this, I OPPOSE BILL HB 1434! HB 2170 (Williams) - EV Opposes Bill Description: This bill would amend the law concerning parental access to educational records, and would require written parental consent before a student may participate in any school-sponsored sport, team, or club, or any sport, team, or club that meets on school property. It also requires the school to notify a parent if a student participates in a sport, team, or club without that written permission. Talking Points: The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating. Because of this, I OPPOSE BILL HB 2170!

Last Name: Merritt Locality: Augusta

I oppose HB 2170. Adolescents should have the autonomy to choose their own clubs, sports, etc. without parent permission. High school is a time to explore and try new activities and identities. If it's a school sponsored event, it's a safe space for youth. Requiring parental consent for every activity is over controlling.

Last Name: Roane Organization: Equality VA Locality: Gloucester

I oppose these bills.

Last Name: Amey Locality: Richmond

I do not support either of these bills which are anti-LGBTQIA and anti-youth. I am a parent of two with one currently enrolled in Richmond Public School. These bills are unnecessary and will cause only harm with no benefit! Caroline Amey, PhD Richmond, VA

Last Name: Warren Locality: Richmond

I urge the committee to oppose HB1434 (Ballard) and HB2170 (Williams). HB1434 creates barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, as well as for parents who would be required to obtain a court order to support their child. It also ties teachers' hands, who want to be supportive of their kids and create a welcoming classroom for all students, but are put in a difficult position to out trans kids by the names on their records. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging, and all students should feel safe and included in order to learn and thrive. There is no educational benefit in requiring students to obtain a court order to update the name on their records. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality. HB2170 would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Hamilton Locality: Fairfax

HB 1434 is an unnecessary bill that adds new complications without solving any problems. It creates barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, while also hindering parents who support their kids and supportive teachers. HB 2170 this bill is again unnecessary and creating problems. Students should have the ability to try new sports, clubs, interests, and other groups that align with their interests and identity. This bill interferes with students and parents, creating unnecessary burdens.

Last Name: Lambert Locality: Harrisonburg

No government bill should ever out a person whether LGBTQIA+ or not. A person has a right to freedom of expression and as children grow they should have the freedom to discover who they really are. No school system should interfere with that right. This bill requires teachers and school staff to ignore the wishes of the child, make them feel unheard and make them feel unaccepted. An already marginalized group who upon rejection from school members and potentially parents will be faced with mental health issues and a much higher risk of suicide. I teach because I care about my students. They are “my kids” and I refuse to do anything that will harm them!!

Last Name: Strozier Locality: Goochland

These bills are harmful to children and families. To insist that even supportive parents obtain a court order is reprehensible. Using a name other than the one on your birth certificate is and has always been common. Will all the bubbas please rise. And the Juniors. . I have been Jen, Jellybean, beanpole, Stro and yet the name on my birth certificate is Jenifer. Stop singling out trans kids and shaming them for being who they are. Likewise requiring parents to be notified when a child joins a club is ridiculous and is clearly meant to single out the LGBTQ+ community. History will look unkindly on lawmakers who vilify people for being who they are. Especially children. I’m in opposition to both of these bills.

Last Name: Morrison Locality: Arlington

HB 1434 (Ballard) - I oppose this bill. It is unnecessary and doesn't serve any educational purposes. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. It also ties teachers' hands, who want to be supportive of their kids and create a welcoming classroom for all students, but are put in a difficult position to out trans kids by the names on their records. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. HB 2170 (Williams) - I oppose this bill. It would harm our community and our young people. It could harm LGBTQ+ students by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. Gay Student Associations are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: White-Lurie Locality: Richmond, VA

As a citizen and an educator, I oppose this measure. Though it is largely unenforceable, the symbol of it would add serious risk to already vulnerable students. A child in the LGBTQ community without any support has an incredibly high risk of suicide. Outting them to parents (even if well-intentioned ones) is more likely to lead to death than heterosexuality.

Last Name: Shock Locality: Montgomery County

HB 1434 is an example of unnecessary legislation which exists purely to inconvenience a minority population. It's a waste of court resources and should not be passed. HB 2170 is a less obvious attack, but is still identifiable as such. Children deserve space to develop their identities away from their families. Removing this privacy can make an unsafe home environment worse, especially for queer children seeking community and support.

Last Name: Borsinger Locality: Richmond

Please do not consider this bill as it would marginalize individuals who have difficulty obtaining written permission. Especially in households that do not have a healthy family dynamic. This is the one escape for many kids.

Last Name: McHenry Locality: Parksley

How does discouraging any student from participating in a school activity help children? It does not. Instead, schools should be encouraging students to participate in activities. These activities should be chosen by the students, not the parents or the school employees. Are you requiring an 18-year old student who is considered of legal age to now be required to be treated as a child? An 18-year-old can legally sign a contract and get married without parental consent, but their parents have to be notified of what clubs they belong to? There will be lawsuits. This bill is a detriment to all children.

Last Name: Massey Locality: Glen Allen

As the parent of a K-12 public school student, I oppose HB 2170. The most obvious way that this bill could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this bill would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or those who are not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating. I’m very concerned that HB 2170 would place students in harm’s way and so must again reiterate my opposition to it. Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts.

Last Name: Sposeep Locality: Arlington

Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. Shouldn't your child be able to be called the right name and pronoun? Mine should. Stop aggravating the mental health of our children with your ignorant governing. I invite you to my house to meet a real trans family and educate yourself. Don't be afraid of us.

Last Name: Coulson Organization: parent and educator Locality: Virginia Beach

Dear House Education Early Childhood Subcommittee, As a parent and educator I strongly oppose HB 1434 (Ballard) and HB 2170 (Williams). HB 1434 (Ballard) - Oppose This bill is unnecessary and doesn't serve any educational purpose. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. It also ties teachers' hands, who want to be supportive of their kids and create a welcoming classroom for all students, but are put in a difficult position to out trans kids by the names on their records. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. It is also life saving. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. This bill will cause psychological harm to already marginalized and vulnerable students interfering with the ability to learn. HB 2170 (Williams) - Oppose This could harm LGBTQ+ students by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+ or inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating. This puts vulnerable students at higher risk for mental health issues including suicide.

Last Name: Freeman Locality: arlington

I believe HB 1434, a bill that requires a court order to change the name a student goes by in school, is unnecessary and harmful to kids. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. The decision about what a child is to be called is between a parent and their child. We wouldn't require a court order for an unusual nickname and we shouldn't require it for something even more sensitive like a child uncertain of their gender identity. It also ties teachers' hands, who want to be supportive of their kids and create a welcoming classroom for all students, but are put in a difficult position to out trans kids by the names on their records. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. I also believe HB2170, a bill that requires notification to parents about the clubs children belong in, to be potentially harmful to children of parents who are intolerant or abusive. If a child needs help and wants to get it at school through clubs for, say, mental health improvement or LGBTQ+ identity groups, they should be able to choose whether and when to tell their parents about this. There is likely harm and significant inconvenience and expense to this reporting requirement, and no real problem with the status quo. Parents have so much more access to information about their children than they did 50 years ago in the age before computers. Please preserve the ability for children to ask questions, talk to particular teachers who seem kind and helpful, and explore issues of identity in school without being potentially punished by their parents or publicly outed.

Last Name: Tuck Organization: Equality Loudoun Locality: Leesburg

Greetings, On behalf of Equality Loudoun, the 20,000 LGBTQ+ residents of Loudoun County, and their families, we strongly oppose the attack on the rights of students and their parents represented by HB1434 and HB2170. In Virginia, it is the responsibility of the family to oversee and be responsible for their student, not legislative bodies attempting to limit inclusive policies under the guise of pupil protection. Far from helping, HB1434 policies would limit a student's ability to freely express themselves while creating barriers between students, staff, and families by requiring exorbitant documentation via the timely and burdensome process of a court order. It destroys the fabric of a welcoming school environment and will lead to worsened student outcomes by making the learning of students affected burdensome and uncomfortable. Further, HB 2170 limits the independence of students to pursue interests in school freely, contrary to the purpose of preparing students for adulthood where they are ultimately responsible for decision making. Obviously, this is done to cover up attempts to intentionally out students who may be LGBTQ+ and participating in local Pride or GSA clubs but who live in unsafe homes. Only 2 out of 5 LGBTQ+ people report living in an accepting community, with 54% of youth feeling unsafe disclosing their identity to their families. This will increase negative mental health outcomes, cause dangerous harm to children, and further ostracize these young people while straining student-parent relationships. If your concern is the safety and well-being of students, please vote down these bills. Sincerely, Cris Candice Tuck President, Equality Loudoun

Last Name: Breaux Organization: The Youth of VA Locality: Fairfax

Dear Concerned Elected Officials - I am the parent of a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. My youngest suffered from severe anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation from around age 10 onward. This past Mother's Day they told me they were Transgender, which meant for a good deal of changes, including a very serious request of pronoun usage. It was not easy to go through these changes after having a child for 19 years as their assigned a birth gender. But we did them because we LOVE our child and we BELIEVE they know themselves best - NOT their School, not the powers that be at the state level - but the individual them self. And we are a family that accepts our child for being trans. There are many that do not and this is why these kids suffering so from gender dysphoria choose that do NOT have parental support seek a haven of acceptance, support and safety at school. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS AWAY FROM THEM!! The statistics clearly show that allowing for pronoun changes, etc. significantly decreases the attempts/successes of teen suicide for this particular youth population. My own child (now a college student) just wrote a term paper about a friend that truly felt they identified with a gender different than that assigned at birth - they were not supported a home in this and yes, this young person is now dead from suicide. Yup DEAD due to a lack of understanding and support from family and religion and other factions that are actually supposed to help and support our youth not discriminate or persecute them. We ask that you please DO NOT pass this bill that will very likely lead to only harm. We no long get those phone saying "This is it" - being trans is in NOT A CHOICE and NOT AN EASY THING AT ALL but we see happiness and hope that was so missing in our brilliant and beloved child before they felt the freedom to be who they really feel they are/need to be. This fall I attended a Fairfax County Board meeting on a very similar topic. It was heart wrenching to see do many young people get up to testify against making these required changes - but they were not asking for themselves, but rather "my friend who would be kicked out of his house tonight if his parents knew he was LBGTQIA+. Here that and you don't forget it. Thank you for considering the testimony of me and so many others that can give personal reasons why these two bills should not be passed.

Last Name: Breaux Locality: Fairfax

Strongly Recommend not supporting HB 2170 for a variety of reasons. Requiring signed parental permission prior to allowing a student to participate in any “school sponsored” club seems to be an unnecessary administrative burden. since the club is already school approved, This “nanny state” over reach hampers students freedom to begin making decisions for themselves, which is required to create an informed electorate for the future and sustain civil society.

Last Name: Tang Organization: - Select - Locality: Sterling

Dear Education - Early Childhood/Innovation Subcommittee, My name is Ha and I urge you to oppose the incredibly harmful HB 1434 and HB 2170. There are other issues of importance when it comes to school, I am disappointed to hear how hateful HB 1434 is. It serves no educational purpose and will cause the classroom environment to become hostile to students who are trans or non-binary. This bill is also forcing teachers to comply and prioritize something like a court-ordered name change over the safety and well-being of their students. HB 2170 will also cause harm to LGBTQIA+ students who may not feel safe or ready to share their identity with their families who may not be supportive of who they are.

Last Name: Cayere Locality: Fairfax

No!! Absolutely NOT! Completely AGAINST.

Last Name: Carter Organization: Equality VA Locality: Midlothian

I am writing in OPPOSITION to HB 1434 (Ballard) because being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. I come from a family of teachers and allowing a student to share their preferred name and then honoring that is the safe and respectful way to foster a positive learning environment. I am also writing in OPPOSITION to HB 2170 (Williams) because requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+ -focused groups could harm LGBTQ+ students. These groups exist to SUPPORT students who may otherwise not have it. Again, safety and trust are important components to a positive learning environment and this bill could jeopardize these things.

Last Name: Steger Locality: Appomattox

As a mental health therapist and mother of a trans student, I vehemently oppose these bills that present a clear and present danger to my child and my clients. Every one of my trans clients has wanted to die at some point or another in their young lives because of bills like these that set them apart from other students. They experience increased depression and anxiety as a result of being excluded, and that exclusion often comes when the adults around them do not provide the same level of support and intervention that they give to other students. Some of these folks have home lives that are unsafe for them and these bills make school unsafe too. Teachers who want to provide a safe haven for their students feel stymied in that area. These bills only exist to make my child and my clients feel excluded and disrespected. I don't want to have another conversation with my beautiful, talented child about why they should keep living. I don't want to attend the funeral of one of my clients because a school system outed them to their parents and they completed suicide. These bills should be rejected immediately.

Last Name: Chiles Locality: Spotsylvania

Ballad - This is a solution in search of the problem. It's unnecessary and doesn't serve any educational purposes. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. It also ties teachers' hands, who want to be supportive of their kids and create a welcoming classroom for all students, but are put in a difficult position to out trans kids by the names on their records. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. Williams - The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Cole Locality: Roanoke City

I am opposed to HB2170 and HB1434. Correct name and pronoun use by adults in authority is suicide prevention. I was able to socially transition at work WITHOUT legally changing my name . If I can do it, then children should be able to as well. Any support group you can think of has some kind of confidentiality aspect to it - which protects members that are exploring/struggling/sharing. Why not the same for support groups in a school setting? Correct name and pronoun use by adults in authority is suicide prevention.

Last Name: Joyce Locality: Williamsburg/James City County

As an educator and the parent of a transgender child in the Virginia public schools, I strongly oppose HB 1434 and HB 2170. Having gone through both processes with my child (court-ordered name change and changing school records) mentioned in the former, I can attest that these are currently lengthy and time consuming and will only prove more so if they are connected together, allowing one resistant parent to tie up the entire process if they choose to; in the meantime, teachers and school administrators will be afraid to take steps to support transgender and nonbinary children, who will inevitably suffer when what they need is a welcoming and supportive classroom. The bill as written serves no educational purpose and seems designed simply to put obstacles in the way of families like mine. I also struggle to see the educational purpose of HB 2170 or why we would insist on parental consent before their students could participate in school-sanctioned clubs and teams. Given the general tone of the majority party's bills before the committee, I can only imagine that it is designed to prevent students from participating in socially affirming groups such as Gay Straight Alliances when they might be reluctant to admit such activities to non-supportive parents. If that's the case, the bill is a poorly designed blunt instrument that will only burden students and families with unnecessary paperwork and discourage kids from participating in extra-curricular activities.

Last Name: Costen-Sumpter Organization: Alexandria LGBTQ Navigator Locality: Alexandria, Virginia

I write today to strongly oppose HB 2170. The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating. This hostility to GSA clubs is the latest manifestation of surging, largely right-wing discontent with how schools teach about race, racism, history, gender identity and sexuality.

Last Name: Rolla Organization: ACLU of Virginia Locality: Richmond

Re: Oppose House Bill 2170 – bill to create barriers to participation in student clubs. Dear Chair Coyner and members of the Early Childhood/Innovation subcommittee: The ACLU of Virginia strongly opposes House Bill 2170, which would require parental permission for students to participate in extracurricular clubs and require notification if a student attends such a club without permission. This bill could be used to target LGBTQ+ affirming students clubs – such as Gay Straight Alliances – and if applied unequally could violate the federal Equal Access Act. See 20 U.S.C. § 4071(a). We urge you to reject this bill. Best, Wyatt S.M. Rolla Senior Transgender Rights Attorney ACLU of Virginia

Last Name: Shannon McKay Organization: He She Ze and We Locality: Henrico County, VA

OPPOSE HB2170: I understand and agree with the need to have permission from parents to participate in a sport or travel on a class trip because injury or other issues could happen. However, for a student to participate in a club that happens during or after school on school grounds, I do not see the need for parental permission. HB2170 is targeting LGBTQ+ students and may cause significant harm by requiring parents to know about their participation in a GSA (Gender and Sexuality Alliance) club. Even a theatre or cooking club may get parents riled up if they don't think their child should be exposed to those activities. When will students get to have agency and autonomy to decide the interests and activities they want to pursue? I feel this is overstepping into a place government does not belong. Don't tread on LBGTQ+ students with these unnecessary bills! Instead, please read this guide that has proven to be useful for schools to learn how to support Transgender students. https://www.genderspectrum.org/articles/schools-in-transition?utm_source=Schools%20in%20Transition%20- When we support ALL students, the school community as a whole will thrive, including Transgender and Nonbinary students. Thank you for your consideration, Shannon McKay Executive Director, He She Ze and We

Last Name: Casey Locality: Richmond

Parents already have so much paperwork they have to sign associated with school. This creates a ridiculous and unnecessary addition to that. For teams parents already complete paperwork. You want to add clubs to that?! This bill only serves to restrain LGBTQ+ kids from participating in activities where they may finds support. Come on man.

Last Name: Smith Locality: Chestser

This bill would absolutely harm children. As a teacher for over 35 years, I cannot tell you how many kids I've taught who have struggled with their sexual orientation and gender identity whose lives have been saved-- and I'm not being hyperbolic-- by the existence of the GSA in school and in the student's ability to join it without parental consent. Many of these same students eventually did come out to their parents; many received support and love from their parents, too, but the students were able to come out in their own time, when they felt most comfortable doing so. School clubs are open to anyone who would like to belong, as it should be. Please let teachers do their jobs and advocate for their students. Kids need safe spaces to explore and learn and figure out who they are. They need to know that in school, regardless of what their life is like at home, they are safe to be their true selves. Learning is impossible otherwise. Young people should be free to explore all the various facets of identity. For many students, it is not safe to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity at home; this is a sad fact. Many young people find themselves kicked out of their home or subjected to harmful anti-gay "therapy," or beaten. These are all things I have witnessed. And by making school yet another place where LGBTQ kids (or kids who simply want information) cannot find the support they need, you would be actively harming many kids. Did you know that more LGBTQ kids commit suicide than non-LGBTQ kids? That numbers increases for LGBTQ kids of color and trans kids. Why do we want to put barriers in place for these kids to get the support they need? Why do we want to enact legislation that would put kids directly into harm's way? What parent would want that for their own child? Please, please, vote NO. DO not support HB 2170.

Last Name: Carlson Locality: Centreville

The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating. GSAs are also important organizations for students who want to support their LGBTQ+ peers regardless of how their parents feel about the issue, and students' support of and care for their friends should not be beholden to their parents' feelings on the matter.

Last Name: Carr Locality: Richmond

I oppose both of these Bills and hope you will stop them. For example I have always gone by Rick which is the second syllable of my middle name. My parents started this when I was born as I am the "third" I went through school and never had a problem with this. This bill would have required my parents to get a a court order for me to be called by my given nick name. Ridiculous! I also oppose 2170. This is a disguised way to oppress gender questioning etc. youth. I never needed my parents permission to participate in clubs at school. I am a 70 year old cis, hetero, white male who grew up in Virginia. Everyone should enjoy the same privileges I grew up with.

Last Name: Fenton Locality: Glen Allen, VA

I strongly oppose both of these bills as they present unnecessary barriers to students in regards to their ability to be called by the right names and pronouns and ability to participate in student organizations. Being called by their chosen name and pronouns is imperative to their feeling respected and safe at school. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive.

Last Name: Lambert Locality: Prince William County

Fundamentally these are not in the best interest of the students being educated. This is a solution in search of the problem. It's unnecessary and doesn't serve any educational purposes. Not only does it create barriers for students who want to be called by their chosen names at school, but also for parents who support their kids, who would be required to obtain a court order to do so. It also ties teachers' hands, who want to be supportive of their kids and create a welcoming classroom for all students, but are put in a difficult position to out trans kids by the names on their records. Being called by the right names and pronouns is an important part of belonging in school. All students should feel safe and included in order for them to learn and thrive. Teenage years are already hard enough without the added difficulties that this would introduce for ANY student who mihr want to to be called a different name, for ANY reason that might be necessary. The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating. Part of the benefit of extracurricular groups organized within the school is an opportunity for students to socialize safely outside of school hours. It grants them a level of independence that is sorely sought after by so many of them, while providing an educational and supportive environment for them to do so. Creating additional barriers for students is only detrimental to these important opportunities they might not have otherwise.

Last Name: Hoffman Locality: Virginia Beach

I oppose this bill. Students should be free to attend clubs without parental permission or notice. LGBTQ students should be able to receive the support GSAs offer without the threat of being outted prematurely and/or to unsupportive parents.

Last Name: Paul Locality: Colonial Heights

To Whom It May Concern, I think it is important for the autonomy of students to be called by their chosen name. I believe HB 1434 discourages a child from being themselves and feeling like they belong. HB 2170 is harmful to students seeking information on how to come out to their family. This bill would prevent any child with unsupportive parents from participating in LGBTQ+ supportive clubs. Children need our support love and acceptance. Unfortunately not all children receive this from their parents and we should protect our vulnerable students. I believe both these bills encourage harm against our LGBTQ+ students.

Last Name: Robb Locality: Arlington

Please, please do not pass this bill! My wonderful, much loved child is supported by both of his parents in the name he has chosen and uses at school, and it has made his high school experience so much more bearable. Forcing him and us to go to court to get the school to use his preferred name is not something that can immediately be accomplished, and the interim will be painful for all involved. Please, please please do not hurt my son this way! He is a genuinely kind and thoughtful kid, attentive and loving to his parents and grandparents, considerate and generous and well mannered. He is a blessing from God and a lot more fun than I expected a teenager to be. Please do not treat him as a political pawn!

Last Name: Johnson Organization: Equality Virginia Locality: Virginia Beach

The most obvious way this could harm LGBTQ+ students is by requiring schools to notify the parents of students who participate in GSAs or similar LGBTQ+-focused or –inclusive clubs. GSAs are often a refuge for young people who are questioning or exploring their gender or sexuality, and this would bar any child with unsupportive parents, or who is not yet ready to have these discussions with their parents, from participating.

Last Name: Sharma Locality: Arlington

Not only does this bill violate students' privacy, it is unworkable. At many middle and high schools, students will often try a variety of clubs each semester, sometimes sticking with one for an entire semester, attending others for maybe one meeting. To maintain a vibrant and rigorous academic atmosphere, students need to be free to try different activities. This bill would take that vital freedom away.

Last Name: Jamison Locality: Charlottesville, VA

I strongly oppose HB1434 and HB2170 These bills would negatively impact LGBTQ youth in Virginia schools. Please do not let these unnecessary and harmful bills pass! Thank you.

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

HB2177 - Critical National Security Language Grant Fund and Program; established.
Last Name: Haines Organization: Global Virginia Locality: Richmond

Please support this bill. HB 2177 is a great initiative. I have over 35 years in the national security space, including serving as a U.S. Army Russian Foreign Area Officer and most recently retired as a senior executive in the Intelligence Community as the Senior Language Authority responsible for training our military and civilian workforce in language, regional expertise and culture capabilities and competencies. We needed these particular languages and others –then and now-- to retain our competitive advantage in the national security realm. I submit that national security is more than simply defense and intelligence. The national security ecosystem and landscape includes economic competitiveness, diplomacy, trade and international commerce, international treaties, and the organic (American perspective) capacity to meet the other in their space on our terms. It is far easier to become proficient and retain proficiency in one’s early –teen years—than in one’s late 30’s or early 40’s –like I did when I learned Russian in my late 30’s. This is easy legislation to support. We either support learning and using world languages, and in this case national security languages in our public education system, our communities and in the service of our nation, or we don’t. The Commonwealth already teaches four of these ‘critical’ languages and could use a boost to teach and study the other identified languages. The languages already taught are Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, Russian and Korean. This is a win for Virginia’s public schools’ system and great educational opportunities for our students and emerging workforce. Thomas J. Haines

Last Name: Scinicariello Organization: Foreign Language Association of Virginia Locality: Henrico County

The Foreign Language Association of Virginia strongly supports HB 2177, which establishes a 'seed money' fund to expand the teaching of certain 'critical' languages in K-12 schools where there is a need. Instruction in these languages can provide our students with: (1) increased job opportunities--and not just in government; (2) increased opportunities for heritage learners to improve their proficiency/literacy and become truly bilingual; (3) increased opportunities for all students to explore languages and cultures beyond those of Western Europe; (4) opportunities for scholarships to study abroad where these languages are spoken. At the University of Richmond, I established and taught in a program that enabled students to learn less-commonly-taught languages that were not taught on campus--and, in fact, are rarely taught in K-12 schools. Students welcomed the opportunity to improve--often to learn to read and write--languages they spoke at home. They also were eager to explore languages and cultures related to their studies and interests outside Western culture. Providing opportunities for K-12 students to study languages in primary and secondary school would greatly benefit many Virginia students. Virginia is a multicultural, multilingual society. Expanding opportunities for learners addresses a real need. Please support HB 2177.

Last Name: Chivers Organization: LCPS Locality: Ashburn

HB 2341-We live in a world where speakers of other languages are on our doorstep, in our classrooms, our medical facilities, and communities at large. Research shows that employers in CTE employment sectors--construction, manufacturing, health care--are those who value students with world language skills. Students who graduate without these skills will be at a lifelong disadvantage in the job market. Learning a second language challenges students to think critically, to open their minds and hearts to other languages and cultures and the people they encompass. As such, I encourage you to vote NO on HB 2341. Language skills are important in every field and subject area as evidenced by the Critical National Security Language Bill 2177. It is a matter of National Security. Please vote YES to fund programs that will address this area of need.

Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Juntas Locality: Loudoun

I would like to support HB 2177, which would establish grant funding to expand the teaching of languages identified by the US government as essential. Critical language and cultural understanding are necessary for national security. Indeed, not just for national security but for any sector of society—economy, health, trade, etc. I have been working for FEMA, a disaster relief project for many years as a translator. We must build the skills in our children to have the opportunity to pursue an ample range of languages at an early age.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Haines Locality: Richmond

Please support this bill. HB 2177 is a great initiative. I have over 35 years in the national security space, including serving as a U.S. Army Russian Foreign Area Officer and most recently retired as a senior executive in the Intelligence Community as the Senior Language Authority responsible for training our military and civilian workforce in language, regional expertise and culture capabilities and competencies. We needed these particular languages and others –then and now-- to retain our competitive advantage in the national security realm. I submit that national security is more than simply defense and intelligence. The national security ecosystem and landscape includes economic competitiveness, diplomacy, trade and international commerce, international treaties, and the organic (American perspective) capacity to meet the other in their space on our terms. It is far easier to become proficient and retain proficiency in one’s early –teen years—than in one’s late 30’s or early 40’s –like I did when I learned Russian in my late 30’s. This is an easy bill to support, however when supporting this bill, you must also oppose HB 2341. We either support learning and using world languages, and in this case national security languages in our public education system, our communities and in the service of our nation, or we don’t. HB 2341 does not further the learning of world languages to our national, state, and local best interests. The Commonwealth already teaches four of these ‘critical’ languages and could use a boost to teach and study the others. The languages already taught are Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, Russian and Korean. This is a win for Virginia’s public schools’ system and great educational opportunities for our students.

Last Name: Patwardhan Locality: Fairfax County

1454 - are you serious? Anyone who remotely values having an educated society will oppose 1454. Good Lord. 2170 is also utterly ridiculous. I OPPOSE 2170, of course. This undermines students' ability to explore their extracurricular interests in the school setting. 1707 and 2432 - I OPPOSE these. These bills would threaten the safety of trans students. 1803 - I OPPOSE this. People need to trust educators to do their jobs, and not impose their beliefs on public schools. I SUPPORT 1497 and 1566. It is disgraceful how educators are treated in this country, and these bills would begin to rectify that. Thank you, Delegates Convirs-Fowler and Rasoul. I support 2388 and 2439. I SUPPORT 2177 as a foreign language teacher. I just wish more bills promoting foreign language education could be on the agenda.

Last Name: Trude Organization: Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA) Locality: Fauquier

The Foreign Language Association of Virginia enthusiastically endorses HB 2177 which establishes the Critical National Security Language Grant Fund and Program within the Department of Education for the purpose of awarding grants on a competitive basis to any school division that provides one or more foreign language courses in a foreign language that is currently identified as critical by the National Security Language Initiative for Youth scholarship program. The bill provides that such grants are limited to an annual amount sufficient to provide one or more full-time equivalent teaching positions to provide one or more critical foreign language courses. In an ever increasing global society, it is imperative that critical languages be taught in our schools. Language skills and cultural understandings are essential to our national security, as well as any sector of society—economy, health, trade, etc. FLAVA urges you to support languages in Virginia and help Virginia became a leader in multilingualism.

Last Name: Roule Organization: Global Virginia Locality: Fairfax County

I would like to voice my strong support for HB 2177, which would establish grant funding to expand the teaching of languages identified by the US government as critical. I was fortunate to have learned my first foreign language at an early age (grade school), which positioned me well for my subsequent 35-year career in the Intelligence Community, where I repeatedly used my language skills to advance our national security mission and went on to manage several language programs. I know from many years personal experience how critical language and the cultural understanding are to national security and how precious few these skills can be. Indeed, not just for national security but for any sector of society—economy, health, trade, etc. It is imperative that we build the pipeline of capability and for our children to have the opportunity to pursue any of a wide range of languages at an early age.

Last Name: Haynes Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother to 5 children, some who are lgbtqia+ this is harmful to all of my children. My straight kids have more rights than my non straight children. How is this justifiable? At what point are all people created equal? Why am Ibfirced to have different survival conversations with each of my children because of laws like these? Why are my LGBTQIA+ kids worth less than my straight kids to my state government? At what point will you work to protect all of my children equally?

Last Name: Staudt Locality: New Kent

I strongly oppose HB 2341! This is a disservice to the students in the Commonwealth. World Language skills are needed more than ever! Virginia employers need multilingual employees. Intercultural competence and language proficiency are 21st century career skills. If we allow students to graduate Highschool without language skills, investors will continue to look at Georgia and North Carolina, where they find schools that meet their employees needs. Rather than reducing World Languages to zero, we should invest and expand language offerings. I support HB 2177. Thank you,

Last Name: Haines Organization: Global Virginia Locality: Richmond

Two items: HB 2177 and HB 2341. Completely endorse and support HB 2177. Having been in the national security space for over 30 years, this is a great initiative. Not only will it help at the national level, it will have positive impact at the local and state level. Students learning a world language prepares them for succeeding on the global and local stage. Oddly, this proposed legislation runs counter to HB 2341 which intends to dilute and ultimately eliminate the learning of world languages. HB 2341 is misguided legislation and should be opposed.

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

HB2187 - School counselors; required percentage of staff time during school hours, etc.
Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Moore Locality: Charlottesville

These are incredible dangerous, irresponsible bills that will unnecessarily endanger children. You are opening Virginia schools up to lawsuits and will waste taxpayer money. Shame on you for using your power to harass children.

Last Name: Welch Locality: Henrico

Full support

Last Name: Riddle Organization: Virginia Education Association Locality: Richmond

The Virginia Education Association has taken a position of support for this bill.

Last Name: Haynes Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother to 5 children, some who are lgbtqia+ this is harmful to all of my children. My straight kids have more rights than my non straight children. How is this justifiable? At what point are all people created equal? Why am Ibfirced to have different survival conversations with each of my children because of laws like these? Why are my LGBTQIA+ kids worth less than my straight kids to my state government? At what point will you work to protect all of my children equally?

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

HB2236 - Secured Schools Program and Fund; established.
Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Haynes Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother to 5 children, some who are lgbtqia+ this is harmful to all of my children. My straight kids have more rights than my non straight children. How is this justifiable? At what point are all people created equal? Why am Ibfirced to have different survival conversations with each of my children because of laws like these? Why are my LGBTQIA+ kids worth less than my straight kids to my state government? At what point will you work to protect all of my children equally?

HB2341 - High school graduation; alternative pathways to advanced studies diploma & associated diploma seals.
Last Name: Murphy-Judy Locality: Midlothian

As a military family child, I grew up recognizing the importance of learning languages and understanding various cultures for America's peace and sovereignty. From my humble origins in La Mesa, California, where there was as much Spanish as English and where my godmother spoke Italian and my godfather French, to a tour in Hawai'i, where I saw an America that speaks not only indigenous Hawai'ian, but also Japanese, Chinese and Tagalog among many other languages. Here in Virginia with not only the important naval bases but the NATO mission and the highly globalized northern Virginia area, how can any representative of the people, any legislative body, not FURTHER actively and with great commitment to ensure our global competences rather than hamstringing Virginians and make us tongue tied when we most need highly tuned linguistic and intercultural skills. Please do NOT further this bill that seeks to take important 21st century global skills away from our children, our future.

Last Name: Chivers Organization: LCPS Locality: Ashburn

HB 2341-We live in a world where speakers of other languages are on our doorstep, in our classrooms, our medical facilities, and communities at large. Research shows that employers in CTE employment sectors--construction, manufacturing, health care--are those who value students with world language skills. Students who graduate without these skills will be at a lifelong disadvantage in the job market. Learning a second language challenges students to think critically, to open their minds and hearts to other languages and cultures and the people they encompass. As such, I encourage you to vote NO on HB 2341. Language skills are important in every field and subject area as evidenced by the Critical National Security Language Bill 2177. It is a matter of National Security. Please vote YES to fund programs that will address this area of need.

Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Cummins Organization: Africa Business and Entrepreneurship Research Society, Foreign Language Association of Virgini Locality: Chesterfield County

It is a mistake to take out of the advanced diploma a skill that is critical to Virginia students entering the workforce in the coming decades. Their competition is not Ohio or California, it is Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Jobs that are 50-100% remote will need employees who can work in a multilingual and multicultural environment. Google Translate (1) is not enough to spontaneously greet and interact with those with whom Virginians are building relationships (2) does not read between the lines when there is nonverbal communication, and that's often more than 50% (3) does not get employees ready to respond to customer or client emails Or allow them to interact spontaneously in Zoom meetings in another language. Students working on an advanced diploma routinely work toward a Seal of Biliteracy that enables them to take third-year college courses in French or Spanish, including at VCU where I teach. Colleges cannot assure the United States will have a supply of the necessary employees with language skills unless they start in high school when they are working on an advanced diploma.

Last Name: Hendrick Organization: FLAVA Locality: Virginia Beach

I urge each of you to vote against HB2341 proposed by Del. Glen Davis. The world is not behind glass doors, only to be encountered by a few who choose to enter. The world is at our fingertips on a daily basis and there is no choice but to participate. This bill is asking you to remove world language requirements from those needed for graduation with an Advanced Diploma. By it's very name an advanced diploma indicates that the student has preformed well in advanced studies and world languages is one of those areas. CTE students are targeted for this exemption from education required by the state. Why? Are they not smart enough? Are they not engaged enough in their education? Do they not need a second language because they are just going to be a construction worker, hospitality workers, or some other career covered under CTE? CTE careers are not exempt from interacting from the world, it is no longer a choice. There is a huge influx of immigrants to our country each year and many of them are working in CTE areas. The need to communicate with others is a MUST have skill. The need to be able to understand others is a MUST have skill. Aside from communication needs, learning a world language develops soft skills that all employers are looking for and simply make your daily life more rewarding and easier. According to ACTFL (the national board for language teaching) some of these skills are: Enhanced Problem Solving Skills Improved Verbal and Spatial Abilities Improved Memory Function Enhanced Creative Thinking Capacity Better Memory More Flexible and Creative Thinking Improved Attitude Toward Other Languages and Cultures All of these skills are needed and wanted in employees. In addition to soft skills there are also cognitive skills such as: Higher standardized test scores Higher reading achievement Expanded student vocabulary in native language (English) Higher academic performance at the college level and beyond These are tangible, real benefits from learning a world language, why would we want to remove these opportunities from students? We all know that in the world today students do what they "have" to do to "get out of school." Let's not let them lose these benefits by dumbing down the expectations we have for them to be educated members of our society. They have room and time to take both CTE and language classes.

Last Name: Brackins Locality: Loudoun

AGAINST HB 2341 CTE classes are NOT equivalent to knowing a another language. Our country must stop believing the world revolves around us and our language and our culture. What even is our culture? We have citizens who represent every part of this world. We are fortunate enough to have a common language from the east coast to the west coast, but we should never assume that English (and the Euro-centric world it represents) is the sole tongue in which we should communicate. NOT knowing a second or third language makes us weaker. NOT knowing a second language makes more susceptible to prejudice. NOT knowing a second language causes us to fear change and people who are not exactly like us. Please do NOT pass HB2341. We must encourage students to be global citizens. In fact, our entire system of language teaching should be revamped, with money poured into lower levels to teach language earlier. Tech will be handled by those with an interest. Let's not allow any student to opt out of language learning.

Last Name: Bennett Organization: World Language Educators (FLAVA) Locality: Sterling

Please oppose HB2341! HB 2341 creates an advanced studies diploma WITHOUT a world language requirement for CTE students. Research shows that employers in CTE employment sectors--construction, manufacturing, health care--are those who value students with world language skills. Students who graduate without these skills will be at a lifelong disadvantage in the job market. As an educator I have seen the value languages bring my students' lives. Time and time again my students return after they graduate to express their gratitude and to share the benefits of learning a language. We would do a disservice to Virginia students by removing this requirement. Additionally, I would like to note that language classrooms support exposure to culture and to people different from their own communities. This creates an appreciation for culture as well as builds a respect for those who are different. Virginia careers are rooted in the diversity of our state. From military to the technology sector, languages enrich the lives of Virginians everywhere. Please vote no on HB2341!

Last Name: Moreno Locality: Loudoun

I oppose HB2341. Economic studies have demonstrated that knowledge of a dominant language is crucial to economic success and boosts economic performance. However, preserving linguistic diversity also has great benefits since language is also a voice of people's culture. In a world where we are fighting to create equality, inclusivity and to value other people’s opinions, religions and cultures; Why would we then take a step back?. Because if HB2341 is passed, that is exactly what we would be doing. I have worked as a translator for FEMA for many years, supporting individuals who have been affected by hurricanes and other devastating natural disasters, and let me tell you, the need for translators is enormous. FEMA struggles to find the right candidates to perform these essential tasks. Please, do not allow the U.S. to become less competitive in the global economy because of declining quality foreign language education at the school level.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Bertholet Locality: Prince Wiliam, Manassas

Hello, My name is Laurence Bertholet, and I am a French teacher in Loudoun County Public School. I am contacting you because I am concerned about the agenda of HB 2341 and would like to oppose it. We are living in a global society with people speaking a multitude of languages. By allowing HB2341 to pass, we are putting our children, the future of our nation, at a disadvantage against the children of other nations. Employers in CTE fields prefer to hire candidates with world language skills because they have gained new perspective on life and they better understand the cultural codes of their multicultural clients. Because the way of education is, these employers have a hard time finding qualified candidates and have to extend their search to other countries. By allowing HB2341 to pass, we are creating a generation of people who will be less marketable than the previous generation and who will be at a disadvantage compare to people coming from another country. Another advantage of learning a world language is too deepen the knowledge of our native language, understanding better its syntax and ultimately writing more powerful pieces. By allowing HB2341 to pass, you will create a generation of individuals with weaker communication and English skills. Finally, this would be utopic to believe that everyone in the world speak English as Marty Abbot said. For example, my parents who live in Belgium, do not speak English, and they are not the only ones in this situation. By allowing HB2341 to pass, you will create a well of missed opportunities. Please do not pass HB2341. Thank you very much for your time and attention. Laurence Bertholet

Last Name: Haines Organization: Global Virginia Locality: Richmond

Global Virginia is opposed to House Bill 2341. VA HB 2341 is misguided legislation and bad policy for the future of our students and workforce development. We can do better in educating our students for employability and success than by eliminating world language learning for a particular ‘pathway’ to attain an advanced studies diploma. This is a repeated and an insidious effort to dilute and divest the learning and study of world languages. Eliminating world language study to further the attainment of an advanced studies diploma does nothing to advance Virginia’s prestige as a preeminent leader in public education. The Virginia Department of Education indicates that of Class Year 21-22, 52,305 students out of 93,405 graduates were awarded an Advanced Studies Diploma or an International Baccalaureate diploma. That suggests at least 52K students took world languages for purpose in high school. In other words, about 56% of VA high school graduates from Class 21-22 were awarded the ASD or IB diploma. Passing HB 2341 will likely dilute the number of students learning world languages in the Commonwealth. We need more students learning world languages, not less. It is highly likely CTE graduates will find themselves in a very diverse, if not the most diverse work environment than almost any other career field. Studies and research indicate that employers across the spectrum of CTE career clusters, want employees with language and intercultural skills –soft skills. The construction sector, healthcare and social assistance, social services sector report the highest foreign language skills gap. Thirty-nine percent of employers in the construction sector and nearly 30% in the professional and technical services sector are most likely to be unable to pursue or have lost business in the past three years due to a lack of world language skills in their employee. This is the CTE space; these are the CTE career clusters! World language study involves perspective taking and sense making; it develops interpersonal skills, intercultural awareness, and empathy. It provides an expanded local and global world view to better understand the other –all others! Increased critical thinking and cognitive clarity are unquestionable outcomes from world language study. Our student’s world is an increasingly diverse and complex place, and students need the cognitive and critical thinking skills that learning world languages and these other disciplines gives them: a well-rounded, career ready education.

Last Name: Maclean Organization: (private citizen) Locality: Rappahannock County

I strongly OPPOSE HB 2341. How can you promote an advanced studies certificate without a world language component?? Everyone knows these kids will have a lifelong disadvantage in the workforce without foreign language skills. The skills are proven to improve written correspondence even in English! Please don't let this proceed without adding a 2 years minimum of a world language!

Last Name: Middlebrooks Locality: Richmond

Dear Delegate Davis: Please allow me to strongly object to the proposed removal of required coursework in world languages for an advanced high school diploma. Few things can distinguish young leaders of our Commonwealth more than the ability to communicate in two or more languages. With our proximity to both the diplomatic epicenter of Washington, D.C. and the Port of Virginia from which our goods travel to the rest of the world, we need more multilingual and multicultural technicians, ambassadors, teachers, health care experts, and citizens of every profession. Bilingualism expands the opportunity of workers in every single occupational field, and HB 2341 would do our youth a great disservice. Please put your efforts into expanding language education, not removing it from our public school curriculum. Thank you very much for your time and attention. Laura Middlebrooks

Last Name: Lindblom Locality: Charlottesville

I oppose these bills which are designed to cause harm to children.

Last Name: Betty Rose Facer Organization: Old Dominion University, IALLT, and CALICO Locality: Norfolk

Dear House Committee Members, Multilingualism is important to our nation and in the great Commonwealth of Virginia. As a faculty member at Old Dominion University for he past 27 years teaching French, I am proud of our world language students and what they accomplish linguistically and culturally. They are true global citizens! I believe that all students should learn or maintain at least one world language in addition to English. Therefore, language learning should be a central part of any curriculum. Please vote to defeat legislation that goes against world language education for any student in our state. Thank you, Betty Rose Facer

Last Name: Sati Locality: Waynesboro

I am respectfully submitting my request in favor of offering Foreign Languages at any level of education. If there is a vital aspect of a well rounded person, that definitely is knowledge, mastery of another language beside English. We can not expect to build global citizen in this century without foreign languages. Foreign languages should be offered to children as early as kindergarten and required throughout the high-school, not as electives, but MANDATORY. Knowing another language will make our children more marketable in today's competitive society, improve their communication skills and open their horizons to other cultures. Every respected country is focusing much on teaching English as mu h as possible in order for the citizens to be fluent in English. We too should make strides to require our children to become fluent in at lest one foreign language!

Last Name: Paz Organization: N/A Locality: Leesburg, Virginia

I am writing as both a parent and community member who is strongly oppose to the passage of bill HB 2341. Research shows that employers in CTE employment sectors--construction, manufacturing, health care--are those who value students with world language skills. Students who graduate without these skills will be at a lifelong disadvantage in the job market. Additionally, the ability to communicate in a second language is imperative to the ever-diversifying nation within which we live. Not only is it a skill our students need as they enter the work force but by taking language classes, our students minds are opened to understanding other cultures, empathy, and appreciation for the differences among us - all skills that our youth MUST acquire. It is imperative that students continue enrolling in our language courses and therefore, it is detrimental to our state's eduacation program to pass the bill HB 2341.

Last Name: Trude Locality: Fauquier

The Foreign Language Association understands the need to differentiate educational paths for Virginia students based on their talents, interests, and goals. Creating various curricular paths for students who aspire to the advanced studies high school diploma can serve this goal. However, we oppose HB 2341, as it clearly targets world language courses. HB 2341 unnecessarily establishes a curricular opposition between world language courses and career and technical education. It unfairly targets courses that teach skills--communication and cross-cultural awareness--of use to all Virginians, no matter their career orientation. All Virginians live in a multilingual and multicultural society within a global economy. In its Blueprint Virginia 2030, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce recognized this when it supported world language instruction as an essential part of workforce education. Virginia graduates are expected to “build connections and value for interaction with diverse communities,” one goal of world languages courses. Moreover, all world languages courses teach students interpersonal and communication skills, essential in any workplace. Because world languages teach such necessary skills, the Foreign Language Association of Virginia opposes any advanced studies high school diploma that does not contain world language components.

Last Name: Harnsberger Organization: N/A Locality: Richmond

This bill is absurd. Foreign languages should be a requirement for high school students.

Last Name: Forrest Organization: Mathews County Public Schools Locality: Mathews

It is imperative that students be allowed to continue to have a world languages requirement because of its importance to their future chances for employment. Research shows that employers in CTE employment sectors--construction, manufacturing, health care--are those who value students with world language skills. Students who graduate without these skills will be at a lifelong disadvantage in the job market. I have had many students over my 28 years of foreign language teaching that have lauded their decision to take a language in school because it helped them to get a better paying job and also gained higher pay for them in their current jobs because of their knowledge of a world language. Please do not take away this benefit from students- by dropping the world language requirement. You would be doing them and the future of the country a great disservice.

Last Name: Blanchard Locality: ASHBURN

I am opposed to HB 2342 and pleased to see that CTE teachers and world language teachers are on the same page with this. We cannot compete in the world marketplace and be successful if we continue to believe and act as if the only language one needs to know is English. Studies reveal that language learning produces higher SAT skills, the more years of a language, the higher the score. Language learning produces better focus and memory in students. Language learning teaches skills needed for communication, reading, writing, speaking, listening. We would be doing our students a disservice if we were to pass this bill. Instead a bill should be proposed to to make the pathway for an advanced diploma require 4 years of a language.

Last Name: Foster Locality: Henrico

I oppose HB 2341 which would grant an advanced high school diploma to CTE students without a foreign language component. The study of foreign language is very important to a well-rounded education, to open students' eyes to different cultures and to allow them to communicate more effectively. Also, only when one can see one's own language from the outside, as it were, can one truly see, know and understand the intricacies of one's own language. Removing the foreign language requirement would put Virginia's students at a disadvantage when competing for jobs and seeking other post secondary options.

Last Name: Stockman Organization: Virginia Organization of World Languages Supervisors (VOWLS) Locality: Henrico

Please oppose HB2341. Personally, I value the work from career and technical education programs, but whole-heartedly oppose its substitution for world language credits. CTE educators and world language educators are in complete agreement that these disciplines are valuable and should never be substituted one for the other. In fact, some schools have already begun the work to blend world languages and CTE with a collaboration between the two fields thus propelling students’ marketability and career preparedness. Even a basic level of proficiency in another language along with a trade skill increases a student’s competitiveness in the job market. It should never be the goal to divide and replace one diploma track for another, but rather to collaborate in order to educate tomorrow’s workforce in languages other than English as well as CTE job skills.

Last Name: Rios Locality: Richmond

Please oppose HB2341. Removing the foreign language requirement from the Advanced Diploma jeopardizes the health of of the World Language departments in our public schools. Our students deserve to have access to an education that will make them individually, and the nation as a whole, competitive competitive in a global market. Undermining the health of our World Language departments threatens the access that our students currently enjoy to this education. So please vote to oppose HB2341. Thank you, Aliza Rios

Last Name: Aylor Locality: Fauquier County

HB2341 should not be passed, as it provides a disservice to Virginia graduates. Young people need proficiency in a world language in order to support businesses as they compete in a global marketplace. Additionally, businesses consider applicants with proficiency in more than one language more qualified than applicants who do not. We should not shortchange Virginia graduates. Oppose HB2341.

Last Name: Graniez Locality: Chesapeake

It is important that CTE students have a world language requirement as part of their advanced studies diploma in high school. Students who are planning to have CTE related jobs will encounter people of various backgrounds and cultures, as with any job. Taking a foreign language develops the specific skill of understanding and being open to the perspective of a different culture, setting one up for success in working with people of many backgrounds in a multicultural society. For this reason, I oppose this bill.

Last Name: Goetz Locality: Leesburg

Did you know that 7,151 languages are spoken in the world, as of 2022? And that 23 languages account for more than half the world's population? Wake up! We are not alone! Also, did you know that Mandarin Chinese has the most native speakers in the world, followed by Spanish second, English third and Hindi not far behind? It is hard to understand and believe this crusade Mr. Davis has against World Languages, but I need to speak up for my children and students of generations to come. I am proud of being a resident of Virginia, but the efforts being made to limit their language opportunities are concerning and completely against the Virginia Profile of a Graduate of which focuses on communication. Communication to who? To our ever shrinking world! The amazing technology we hold in our hands has proven to us how small the world is. We can communicate and connect with people just like us from all over the world. By knowing languages, those connections lead to collaboration, critical thinking, creative thinking, and GLOBAL citizenship. I am writing as a parent of a student in career and technical education who has completed the World Languages requirements and she cannot imagine following her CTE path without having completed the language requirements. In fact, she and her classmates wish that world language options were available during elementary school. Many opportunities available in CTE require working day to day with the public who speak various languages. Communication is key in any career path and communication in different languages is even better. The Profile of a Virginia Graduate describes the knowledge, skills, experiences and attributes that students must attain to be successful in college and/or the work force and to be “life ready.” How can we in Virginia say "life ready" if we are awarding degrees without requiring language and culture study? Today's students live in a much smaller world than the one we adults grew up in. There are developments throughout the world advancing in different languages. While computers may be able to attempt to translate, nothing can take away the relationships between humans, and language is what brings us together. We cannot assume that all cultures outside of the United States will be willing to work with those who do not understand their culture or speak their language. Learning a language builds an awareness that cannot be learned by reading a book or a list of protocols. It is essential that our students are required to complete the World Language requirements. World Languages are for all students, not just those in academic tracks or not. It is for all students no matter what path they follow. It is an honor and privilege to be a Virginia student and global citizen. Please do not take this opportunity away from students.

Last Name: Haynes Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother to 5 children, some who are lgbtqia+ this is harmful to all of my children. My straight kids have more rights than my non straight children. How is this justifiable? At what point are all people created equal? Why am Ibfirced to have different survival conversations with each of my children because of laws like these? Why are my LGBTQIA+ kids worth less than my straight kids to my state government? At what point will you work to protect all of my children equally?

Last Name: Walvoord Organization: American Association of Teachers of French Locality: Evanston

Dear Delegates, No doubt, you all want to do the best of the citizens of Virginia and especially for the students. Limiting the courses necessary for the awarding of the diplomas you are considering to STEM+C restricts the breadth of information available to students' in VA schools. Communication skills (listening, speaking, writing, persuading, acknowledging feelings, recognizing accomplishments, motivating, instructing) are all key skills in EVERY job whether in the STEM+C industries or beyond. Businesses, government, and non-profits will always need people to communicate with their clients and their employees. Removing world language, one of the key classes that have to do with communication and even communicating with peoples different from our own, clearly misunderstands what the current workforce needs to be effective in their jobs. We entreat you to NOT GO FORWARD with a diploma that does not require course work or training in world languages.

Last Name: Roule Locality: Fairfax County

I strongly oppose HB2341. The need for language skills increasingly permeates every sector of our economy and society. World language study should be a standard for our children to better equip them for any future they aspire to.

Last Name: Heath de Martinez Locality: Richmond

I am a Spanish teacher at a Virginia public high school. My students learn how to hold basic conversations in Spanish. But they learn so much more than just words that Google can translate. My students learn about the perspectives that shape language, culture, and trade. They learn how their own history connects to or mirrors that of our global neighbors. Students interact with texts, media, and people who are different from what they have experienced growing up. World language classrooms develop our future diplomats, global entrepreneurs, and artistic collaborations. The ideas students craft and share in my Spanish classroom extend to all of their areas of study.

Last Name: Neumann Locality: Virginia Beach

I am a long time language educator. It is appalling to me that Senator Davis continues his attack on World's language education in Virginia. Research and report after report have indicated that those in the tech fields desire people with soft skills of communication and language experience. World Language credits are not replaceable with a CTE course. There is room in high school schedules and in the advanced studies diploma for both CTE courses and World Language credits giving those who attain the advanced study diploma skills that are valuable in the 21st century and beyond. I urge you to not support this bill.

Last Name: Smith Organization: Highland Springs High School Locality: Chesterfield

Research shows that employers in CTE employment sectors--construction, manufacturing, health care--are those who value students with world language skills. Students who graduate without these skills will be at a lifelong disadvantage in the global job market. World languages are more than words and grammar, they develop the soft skills in communication and collaboration with people of diverse backgrounds. Languages cross content to every subject, history, English, math, sciences, music, the arts, CTE, literature, health and physical education, and many more. The same cannot be said for CTE classes. I took computer coding classes and there is no comparison, they cannot be interchanged. While coding may enlist similar skills to learning as foreign language like vocabulary and syntax, they are largely considered to be separate skills. In 2020, a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported that reading lines of computer code activate different regions of the brain compared to reading written language. Not only that, but the two perform fairly different functions — world language courses allow students to engage with foreign cultures that they may not otherwise be exposed to. World languages are complex. Commonly taught ones, like Spanish, consist of nearly 10,000 words as compared to 100 words for most coding languages. Critics claim they aren’t natural languages or on the same level of learning difficulty as foreign languages. Bilingualism also correlates with increased cognitive development, intelligence, memory, and problem-solving abilities. Ability to swap out humanities courses, like world language classes, with STEM-driven classes results in the further reduction of the arts in schools, which leads to a drop in creativity. A skill that is needed in every industry. Learning a world language introduces new cultures, ideas, perspectives, and experiences outside most students’ which many argue lead to an increase in empathy, communication, and relationship-building. World languages are spoken and allow for global communication, connection, and interaction, which is crucial to succeeding in our increasingly globalized world. The National Research Council called Americans’ “pervasive lack of knowledge about foreign cultures and foreign languages threatens the security of the United States as well as its ability to compete in the global marketplace and produce an informed citizenry.”

Last Name: Smith Organization: Highland Springs High School Locality: Chesterfield

Research shows that employers in CTE employment sectors--construction, manufacturing, health care--are those who value students with world language skills. Students who graduate without these skills will be at a lifelong disadvantage in the global job market. World languages are more than words and grammar, they develop the soft skills in communication and collaboration with people of diverse backgrounds. Languages cross content to every subject, history, English, math, sciences, music, the arts, CTE, literature, health and physical education, and many more. The same cannot be said for CTE classes. I took computer coding classes and there is no comparison, they cannot be interchanged. While coding may enlist similar skills to learning as foreign language like vocabulary and syntax, they are largely considered to be separate skills. In 2020, a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported that reading lines of computer code activate different regions of the brain compared to reading written language. Not only that, but the two perform fairly different functions — world language courses allow students to engage with foreign cultures that they may not otherwise be exposed to. World languages are complex. Commonly taught ones, like Spanish, consist of nearly 10,000 words as compared to 100 words for most coding languages. Critics claim they aren’t natural languages or on the same level of learning difficulty as foreign languages. Bilingualism also correlates with increased cognitive development, intelligence, memory, and problem-solving abilities. Ability to swap out humanities courses, like world language classes, with STEM-driven classes results in the further reduction of the arts in schools, which leads to a drop in creativity. A skill that is needed in every industry. Learning a world language introduces new cultures, ideas, perspectives, and experiences outside most students’ which many argue lead to an increase in empathy, communication, and relationship-building. World languages are spoken and allow for global communication, connection, and interaction, which is crucial to succeeding in our increasingly globalized world. The National Research Council called Americans’ “pervasive lack of knowledge about foreign cultures and foreign languages threatens the security of the United States as well as its ability to compete in the global marketplace and produce an informed citizenry.”

Last Name: Staudt Locality: New Kent

I strongly oppose HB 2341! This is a disservice to the students in the Commonwealth. World Language skills are needed more than ever! Virginia employers need multilingual employees. Intercultural competence and language proficiency are 21st century career skills. If we allow students to graduate Highschool without language skills, investors will continue to look at Georgia and North Carolina, where they find schools that meet their employees needs. Rather than reducing World Languages to zero, we should invest and expand language offerings. I support HB 2177. Thank you,

Last Name: Calbetó Organization: Rodney Thompson Middle School Locality: Stafford

Thanks for inviting me to comment on this bill. My name is Jaime Calbetó, and I am a Spanish instructor at Rodney Thompson middle school in Stafford County. Each day, the world requires that businesses and governments become more integrated and collaborative in their day-to-day operations, strategically aiming to combine their knowledge assets and competitive advantages to bring a brighter future for humanity and our planet. One of the most valuable gifts that we can give our current generation and future generations of students to stay on course in this most-needed mission to learn the ways to work better with other global stakeholders and achieve as well as maintain global greatness is for students to gain a deeper understanding about one's global neighbors and their cultures, and there is no better way to achieve this than by learning another language at secondary school or even better yet at primary school. When one learns a second language, one learns to think in a different language, in a different way, and ultimately begins to empathize better with others' differences. Communicating in another language makes collaboration with respective global partners stronger and more successful. I hope the state of Virginia recognizes the value for our students to learn a second language and supports an advanced studies programs WITH a world language requirement for CTE students. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts.

Last Name: Hatfield Organization: Foreign Language Association of Virginia Locality: Suffolk

I oppose this bill because it supports neither global citizenship nor interculturality, both of which are important for Virginia graduates.

Last Name: Vogelbach Locality: Purcellville

Dear House Committee Members, I write to let you know of the grave concerns I have about a possible reversal of the World Language requirements for an advanced studies diploma. In an ever shrinking world, and one in which conflicts will continue, it is imperative that we continue to place value on the need for more extensive communication skills in languages other than English. Whereas career and technical education skills certainly are valuable, the pathway to an "advanced studies diploma" should continue to include the rigor of the study of a world language in depth. Humans are increasingly relying upon technology, as are our schools, and I think the results only serve to prove that actual human to human communication across the country and the globe must be a priority, and the study of a world language and its culture and history increase these skills. The world is increasingly interdependent and more in need now of students who have the chops to learn challenging and not widely- spoken world languages, and the skills that support them MUST begin in high school, or it will very likely be too late. As a thirty-six year veteran of foreign language teaching, a Fulbright teacher exchange participant, and a student of history, and someone who follows world events closely, our curricula need to focus more, not less, on strong liberal arts foundations that include encouraging as many students as possible to challenge themselves to learn and grow through the study of a world language other than their own, and about the culture and the history of the people who speak it. Just look at the world today; life on this planet is becoming increasingly complex and there will continue to be a need for people across the globe to communicate and cooperate in order to solve the looming problems that face us as humans. It would be a grave error not in continue to support the requirement that students wishing to pursue an advanced studies diploma continue to be required to study a world language. In fact, given the value of learning another language, and the incredible benefit to a student's intellectual development from it, the state should be looking to expand, not contract, the need for world language study if we wish to continue to label these requirements as "advanced'". I appreciate your time in reading this, and hope you will vote AGAINST HB2341. The world needs good communicators; do not let this mistake happen. Most respectfully, Kerstin E. Vogelbach 540-327-6560 Purcellville, Virginia

Last Name: Smith Organization: Loudoun County Public Schools Locality: Centreville

"HB 2341 creates an advanced studies diploma WITHOUT a world language requirement for CTE students. Research shows that employers in CTE employment sectors--construction, manufacturing, health care--are those who value students with world language skills. Students who graduate without these skills will be at a lifelong disadvantage in the job market." I believe learning a foreign language in our public schools has real life advantages to our students and future work force. In this global society, English is no longer the only language spoken. Here in the U.S., Spanish is now considered our unofficial second language. Many workers in the CTE sectors only speak Spanish and their English is not very good. It is extremely beneficial to have people within these sectors that do speak and write Spanish (as well as English) to be able to positively interact and work with them for the common goal. As a Spanish teacher, I use Spanish every day, not only at school with my students, but also with our valued custodial team, which is an Hispanic crew. At home, I use Spanish to better interact with contractors that do work at my home. I always get a warm reaction when I speak to them in Spanish, and I feel like they do a better job because because of that, because I take the time to get to know them a little. And lastly, my elderly parents, who live in assisted living, are cared for by several Hispanic caregivers. Being able to speak with them about my parents' care has made the difference between good care and great care. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't use Spanish, at school, out shopping, in the community, in health care, and at my home. I believe every student should study a foreign language in order to function better in our global society. The job market possibilities open up considerably.

Last Name: Haines Organization: Global Virginia Locality: Richmond

Two items: HB 2177 and HB 2341. Completely endorse and support HB 2177. Having been in the national security space for over 30 years, this is a great initiative. Not only will it help at the national level, it will have positive impact at the local and state level. Students learning a world language prepares them for succeeding on the global and local stage. Oddly, this proposed legislation runs counter to HB 2341 which intends to dilute and ultimately eliminate the learning of world languages. HB 2341 is misguided legislation and should be opposed.

Last Name: Gargiulo Locality: Warrenton Virginia 20186

I OPPOSE HB2341 because I do not believe CTE students should be able to obtain an advanced studies diploma WITHOUT a world language requirement. Computer Technology Education can never replace the importance and benefits of learning a world language. There is no comparison to learning culture, listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing in another world language. PLEASE BLOCK THIS BILL FROM PASSING

Last Name: Scinicariello Organization: Foreign Language Association of Virginia Locality: Henrico County

I represent the Foreign Language Association of Virginia. The Foreign Language Association of Virginia opposes this bill because it sets up a direct opposition between world languages and career and technical education, which will disadvantage all students. Career and technical education is not in opposition to world languages; the two disciplines can work together to prepare career-ready global citizens. All Virginians pursue careers in a multilingual, multicultural society within the global economy, in fields ranging from agriculture to national security. A survey conducted by IPSOS in 2018 for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) found that nine of ten U.S. employers rely on employees with language skills other than English; 56% say their foreign language demand will increase, and 36% say it will remain the same. An important argument against HB 2341 is the finding that the sectors relying on U.S. employees with world language skills are precisely those of students pursuing CTE: construction, manufacturing, health care, and technical services (IT). The attached graph illustrates this point. The Department of Defense considers language skills so important that it funds substantial multi-year competitive grants to improve K-12 world language education in schools that serve JROTC programs and military communities. Virginia Beach, Newport News, and York County have received such grants. World languages courses teach the interpersonal and communication skills essential in any workplace. Eliminating world languages from the requirements for CTE students will disadvantage them in both the workplace and our multilingual, multicultural world. Finally, HB 2341 is unnecessary. The General Assembly passed and the Governor signed HB 938 last year. This bill, among other things, requires the Board of Education to collaborate with stakeholders, evaluate options, and make recommendations to the General Assembly about, among other things, “expanding the Advanced Studies diploma.” In other words, the Board of Education is already working on what HB 2341 addresses. For all these reasons, we ask that you oppose HB 2341. Thank you. Sharon Scinicariello, Ph.D. Advocacy Chair

Last Name: Carneiro Locality: Henrico

As an educator familiar with the service industry, I oppose HB2341. Rather than take world language requirements away, we should be working to increase training in various languages in order to strengthen our workforce. When working in the fields that CTE supports, it is well known that many of our professionals speak a language other than English. This is an additional skill they bring to the table and we are robbing Virginian students of this opportunity when we take away WL requirements. You may say that students can still have the option to take a language, but as requirements subside, programs will die and students will no longer have the options they have now. Language is an integral part of education and has been for centuries. Would we make math optional? One might argue that most people don't use a lot of the math they learned in high school, yet it is still required (and should be). Consider skilled workers who have been trained in CTE. They use various languages, particularly Spanish. That is an asset we can help students attain. As I see it, world languages and CTE go hand-in-hand. World language education is part of career and technical education. Knowing another language empowers workers to communicate with a broader audience and understand different points of view. And before we say that language is taking up valuable space in a schedule or that not all students can learn a language, consider what is lost by not knowing another language as far as job skills and marketability are concerned. Consider that the students already know English - they CAN learn a language. Please don't lower the bar in Virginia and take these opportunities from our students. Trust and train educators to make language learning accessible and attainable for all. Let Virginia take the lead on career and technical education.

Last Name: Hendrick Organization: FLAVA Locality: Virginia Beach

HB 2341 creates an advanced studies diploma WITHOUT a world language requirement for CTE students. Research shows that employers in CTE employment sectors--construction, manufacturing, health care--are those who value students with world language skills. Students who graduate without these skills will be at a lifelong disadvantage in the job market. In an ever diverse world having proficiency in more than one language is always an advantage. Our doctors, nurses, and assistants all benefit from having a working ability in Spanish for sure but with the diverse population in Virginia other world languages are also a benefit. In the Hospitality Industry the ability to speak and understand other languages than English is also needed and a boon to employers. Construction is also the same. Look at the expansion of the HRBT, the company providing the drill is German, having employees who can communicate with them is a boon to the project. Why would we tell CTE students that world languages are not needed for them? ALL people can learn language, we know English, we can learn other languages as well. We do NOT need to dumb down the requirements for an advanced diploma, students are capable to learn. Mr. Davis, my representative from Virginia Beach, knows how multicultural of an area Hampton Roads is. With NATO and the many international companies, in addition to the tourism industry, the need for employees who have the ability to communicate in languages other than English is important, but more so are the soft skills that language learning develops and nurtures. In our classrooms, students learn how to listen to understand, how to speak to be understood, how to view the world through a lens of curiosity vs judgement, and how to be patient with themselves and others. Students learn that there are many ways to live and customs/traditions around them that are not wrong or scary but interesting and valuable. They are more open to new ideas and more critical consumers of media. Employers are looking for these tributes in employees. There are even health benefits to being bilingual. Dementia is shown to be delayed by up to 5 years in bilingual brains, memory is better throughout our lives. HB2341 is dumbing down our curriculum and student learning. It will put students at a disadvantage with employers for the rest of their lives. The world is not growing smaller, it is simply getting closer to us on a daily basis and Americans need to be able to compete with the world, even CTE students. Thank you for your consideration of my remarks. Please strike down HB2341.

Last Name: Fore Organization: FLAVA, VOWLS Locality: Washington

As a veteran world language teacher of 30 years and a member of VOWLS , and FLAVA I oppose HB2341. Virginia's students need both career readiness and global readiness skills to succeed . It is imperative that we not diminish theimportant role of world languages in our students' development. If anything, we need more world language study for both advanced and standard diploma students coupled with CTE.  HB2341 requires one curriculum to rival another.  As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, we should encourage the study of world languages in support of Virginia’s profile of a graduate and as a work readiness skill.  In 2017, after years of data collection and evaluation Google found the most important qualities of their top employees were soft skills including: communicating and listening well, possessing insights in others having empathy toward and being supportive of colleagues, and being able to make connections across complex ideas.  Google reports good team members demonstrate generosity, empathy, emotional intelligence, and can exhibit a curiosity toward the ideas of their teammates.  Each of these are practiced as an integral part of the world language curriculum. In 2022, The Center for Global Education Asia Society pondered in their article “GlobalCompetence Through Career and Technical Education”  how to ensure students are prepared with skills to connect, to compete, and to collaborate in a global economy.  As the world becomes more interconnected with 1 in 5 jobs tied to international trade, how do we prepare students for work and civic roles in an environment where success increasingly requires the ability to work with others from diverse backgrounds in a global market?   The Association for CTE concluded that critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, along with creativity and innovation were imperative for work readiness standards.  Virginia’s Standards of Learning for World Languages to show world language courses are instrumental in supporting students in these areas; therefore they should be included in the same diploma path as a diploma that requires the completion of CTE courses for receipt of an advanced diploma. In addition to eliminating an opportunity for students to develop soft skills that are important to ensuring our students are equipped to be successful in the workforce, HB2341 would do students a disservice. Most 4 year universities in Virginia require 2-3 years of world language-studies for admission. Top-tier schools across the nation require 3-4 years of worldlanguage studies for admission while many other colleges and universities require a minimum of one-two semesters of language study at the 200 level or above to graduate from their establishment. Not only would this bill limit many of our students  from gaining admission to many 4 year universities  by forcing them to choose a track of study for diploma, but it would hamper their economic futures. Currently there is a critical need for speakers of world languagesin Virginia. A quick search of indeed.com reveals that there are thousands of positions currently open for proficient world language speakers , languages taught in our public schools. Set students up for success without forcing them to choose, by ensuring they possess the linguistic skills, work readiness skills, and global competence needed to succeed by opposing this bill.   

Last Name: Sollien Locality: Tazewell County, Bluefield VA

CTE classes are in NO way equivalent to knowing a foreign language and not represent advanced studies. The United States is consistently behind when with regards to its citizens learning another language. Everyday in the USA there is an ever increasing need in the medical, construction, legal, manufacturing, etc. sections for individuals who are capable of speaking and translating -verbally-from one language to another. Please do NOT pass HB2341. Doing so would only harm our students and country for generations to come. We should be encouraging our students to be global citizens and provide them with a basis to employable anywhere. We owe it to our future leaders to prepare them.

Last Name: Trude Organization: Foreign Language Association of Virginia Locality: Fauquier County

On behalf of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia (FLAVA), I am writing to express our overwhelming opposition to HB2341. While the intent of this bill is to elevate the prestige of career and technical education, Virginia's students need both career readiness and global readiness skills to succeed after high school. It is imperative that we not diminish the important role of world languages in our students' development. If anything, we need more world language study for both advanced and standard diploma students coupled with career and technical courses. HB2341 in its current status, requires one curriculum to rival another. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, we should continue to encourage the study of world languages in support of Virginia’s Profile of a Graduate and as a work-readiness skill. In 2017, after years of data collection and evaluation of employees, Google found among the most important qualities of their top employees were all soft skills. These skills include, but are not limited to: communicating and listening well, possessing insights in others (including others’ different values and points of view), having empathy toward and being supportive of colleagues, and being able to make connections across complex ideas. Google goes on to report that good team members demonstrate generosity, empathy, emotional intelligence, emotional safety (meaning each team member can feel confident in speaking up and in making mistakes), and can exhibit a curiosity toward the ideas of their teammates. Each of these soft skills are practiced and are an integral part of the world language curriculum, classroom, and community, so much so they have been identified by ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) in their World Readiness Standards for Learning Languages. It takes only a glance at Virginia’s Standards of Learning for World Languages to conclude that world language courses are instrumental in supporting students in these areas. Furthermore, in 2019, ACTFL published Making Languages Our Business: Addressing Foreign Language Demand Among U.S. Employers. According to the report, “9 out of 10 U.S. employers rely on employees with language skills other than English” and that “56% say their language demand will increase in the next 5 years”. These numbers indicate the urgent and growing demand for language skills across all sectors. If we want to continue to be successful in creating a thriving global economy in Virginia, we must work hard to foster a robust future multilingual workforce by including World Language courses as an essential component for all Virginia high school students who are completing the advanced studies diploma, and even for those taking the standard diploma. As President of FLAVA, I join my voice with the administrators and employers who understand the economic value and the cognitive benefits of world language study and in opposition to HB2341. I hope that you consider our reasoned opposition as you discuss the bill. Let’s set our students up for success in a globally competitive economy by ensuring they possess the linguistic skills and global competence to succeed.

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

Last Name: Sones Locality: Richmond City

I strongly oppose changing the Advanced Studies Diploma to exclude the World Language credit. The Advanced diploma is designed to guarantee that students are ready for higher education pursuits. Removing the World Language requirement will put students at a great disadvantage when they get to their universities who expect them to have basic language skills, but also to be experienced language learners, a completely different skill. The World Language requirement also prepares students the job force. So many careers today require multi-lingual skills and employers are desperate for polyglots. Do a search on any job or recruitment site and this is obvious. Even our federal government has a critical need for world language speakers. Removing the World Language will mean that students are NOT prepared for the workforce. National Work-Force Readiness standards include language skills.

Last Name: Haines Organization: Global Virginia Locality: Richmond

Oppose this bill

HB2346 - School boards; anonymous reporting system, assessment of risk of violence, etc.
Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Utterback Organization: Actual Parents in Virginia Locality: Prince William County

This sounds like a scam. What non-profit organizations would they contract with? There are far too many organizations that should not have access to children. Vote no unless they provide a list of organizations. Even if they do provide a list of organizations, if they all be found at the top of a google search, perhaps the districts should just hand out a list of helpline numbers instead of creating a program from scratch.

Last Name: Haynes Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother to 5 children, some who are lgbtqia+ this is harmful to all of my children. My straight kids have more rights than my non straight children. How is this justifiable? At what point are all people created equal? Why am Ibfirced to have different survival conversations with each of my children because of laws like these? Why are my LGBTQIA+ kids worth less than my straight kids to my state government? At what point will you work to protect all of my children equally?

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

HB2358 - School protection officers; employment in public schools.
Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Haynes Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother to 5 children, some who are lgbtqia+ this is harmful to all of my children. My straight kids have more rights than my non straight children. How is this justifiable? At what point are all people created equal? Why am Ibfirced to have different survival conversations with each of my children because of laws like these? Why are my LGBTQIA+ kids worth less than my straight kids to my state government? At what point will you work to protect all of my children equally?

HB2367 - Speech-language pathologists; Department of Education to develop a statewide strategic plan.
Last Name: Duncan Locality: Harrisonburg

re: HB2367 | Hudson | Speech-language pathologists; Department of Education to develop a statewide strategic plan. I moved to Harrisonburg, VA in 2019 and began my career with the local city schools during the year of the pandemic. My first experience as an SLP in Virginia was of attempting to provide speech and language services virtually to a caseload of students who had significant difficulty making it online to our scheduled appointments. I persevered and came back to it in 2021. Early on, we pivoted and changed to shortened days. I had students on rolling quarantines, and was expected to connect with families to still provide services. I persevered and came back to it in 2022. When I started with HCPS in 2020, the SLP team consisted of 10 SLPs plus a Lead SLP. In the last 3 years, we have had 3 SLPs quit and 1 retire. Our Lead SLP also retired, and our division did not post or attempt to fill her position. We have hired and failed to retain SLPAs, and we are now down to 5 SLPs and 3 SLPAs, plus a contracted virtual SLP who is based in Rhode Island. We are all attempting to do the work of our original team of 10 + 1, while caseloads have not gotten smaller. Our city has also moved to a more inclusive model, which means that we have all had more students on our caseloads were diverse, and sometimes monumental needs. To say that what's left of us is over-worked would be a gross under-statement. I have been advocating for a pay raise over the last two years, both as compensation for our division's inability to retain, and also to potentially help with recruiting more SLPs. I have always been told by our Central Office staff that a pay raise is out of the question unless the State provides more funding. I love working with students, and I see the value of my work. I see students making progress, and so I persevere. However, the approaching burn-out is real. I hope that you are able to make the right decision to support my profession, so that SLPs can continue to support students in what matters most - having a voice.

Last Name: King Locality: Amelia, VA

Support for HB 2367 I am a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) with over 20 years experience in Virginia and 12 of those years were spent in the public schools. The caseload in the public schools for SLPs is not manageable and nearly impossible given the amount of documentation required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA; 2004) and medicaid billing being required by many school divisions. I know this from first hand experience and it is the fundamental reason I left working as an SLP in K-12 education. Speech Language Pathology is a helping profession rooted in evidence-based practices (EBP). As a professor and graduate director of an SLP masters program in Virginia, my colleagues and I are responsible for teaching our students EBPs for a variety of communication delays and disorders. However, when these new young professionals leave the "ivory tower" of higher education they are faced with a harsh reality - EBP take a back seat to merely meeting time on an IEP. Paperwork and billing are prioritized over student success outcomes. The data collected by our state professional organization (SHAV), coupled with the lack of movement in the GA on this topic from last year, is clear. The VA DOE needs to find solutions to the caseload problem identified in our state or we will continue to have SLPs leave the school systems for the higher paying positions in skilled nursing facilities, private contracting companies, and hospitals leaving our children without essential services. Additionally, well-trained beginning SLPs are leaving Virginia for states such as North Carolina, West Virginia, and Maryland to take positions in states with appropriate caseload caps for SLPs in the public schools. Thank you for your support of Virginia's SLPs, our future SLPs, and most importantly - the children with disabilities receiving these critical services in the public school system.

Last Name: Congrove Locality: Mathews County

As a full-time Speech Pathologist in Gloucester County, I support bill HB2367. With divisions across the state struggling to provide services due to overwhelming caseloads and understaffed teams, it is critical that a strategic plan be put in place for recruiting and retaining SLPs.

Last Name: Skilton Locality: Fauquier County

On behalf of speech therapists throughout the state of Virginia, we thank you for once again calling attention to the economic and workload disparity experienced by myself and fellow speech-language therapists in public schools. We are in need of our representatives to reach out to VDOE and task them with completing a study to develop a strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs). As a practicing SLP in VA public schools, I have seen firsthand how detrimental it is to students' success in the classroom to not receive necessary aid through speech and language intervention. Our jobs impact more than just reading and writing classes as many of these skills are closely related to subjects like math, science, social studies, and specials. As an educational community, it is our responsibility to provide the appropriate level of support for our students to be successful. If we are unable to recruit and retain those who can bridge the gap (especially for those students who are severely delayed, non-speaking, and/or considered special education), how can we expect to provide ethical and effective education? As mentioned by a fellow SLP, "In November 2022, only 25 of the 47 districts (53%) were fully staffed. Of the 22 districts (47%) not fully staffed, the number of openings ranges from .5 to over 5 full time SLP positions. Students in need of speech-language services are having their needs go unmet." I am writing in support to have VDOE begin to collect information on behalf of the students in our state who continue to struggle to receive the support they need and the SLPs who work tirelessly to provide for their schools.

Last Name: Chenoweth Locality: Chesterfield, VA

To Members of the House Education-Early Childhood/Innovation Sub-committee, I am writing in support of HB2367.This plan looks to ask the VDOE to generate a strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of SLPs. I’m a speech therapist in the public schools in Chesterfield County. During the fall of 2022, I carried a caseload of 81 students across two high schools This year my caseload began with 65 across two schools. Other colleagues were carrying caseloads similar to mine stude, above 60 students. According to state guidelines, the maximum number of students per speech language pathologist in the county ranges between 55-68 students. Our caseload numbers have far exceeded the limit over the past two years. During this time, the head of the speech and language department reported that they were short 5-6 speech therapists each year. Currently, our county is short staffed again, with openings and inability to cover maternity leave. New hirees are also leaving due to low pay ratio versus workload. As a result, the head of the department serviced the students herself and attended over 200 meetings . Lastly, I was told that contract personnel are difficult to fill the gaps because of high caseload, responsibilities, lack of support, and pay retention. Many SLPs that are able to retire or doing so due to the same reasons; over worked, under valued. In essence, speech language pathologists are spread thin with ever changing dynamics of their responsibilities. In closing, our students and our schools are in need of qualified SLPs to address the IDEA required services. In order to provide this, the VDOE needs to complete the study and develop a strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), as outlined in this bill. Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: King Locality: Richmond

This bill is extremely important to the students receiving speech-language services, their families, and the clinicians that serve them.

Last Name: Hammond Locality: Pulaski County

I am in support of HB2367. Currently, the Virginia caseload cap of 68 is well above the national average of 47. Our students and our schools are in need of qualified Speech- Language Pathologists, (SLPs). In order to provide this, the VDOE needs to complete the study and develop a strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of SLPs, as outlined in this bill. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, SLPs are seeing a huge rise in the number of speech referrals increasing our caseload numbers above and beyond. Not only is the number of students on our caseloads affecting our ability to provide quality services, but the number of meetings we are required to attend, as well as the required paperwork (daily notes, IEPs, plans of care, progress notes, Medicaid billing, etc.), does not allow us the time to be completed during our contracted work hours. This also results in our salaries not reflecting the national average according to the American Speech and Hearing Association’s survey completed in the spring of 2020 for school based Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Their numbers report an average salary of $66,000. I am an SLP with 22 years’ experience and 15 years working in the school system. We are a small rural county in southwest Virginia and I recently spoke with our Special Education Director about the possibility of hiring another SLP within our county. I was told, “we do not have the money and she was advised not to request any additional positions.” This is unacceptable and is a detriment to the students and families, not just in Pulaski County, but all counties in VA where this is the case. Please move this bill forward to begin the strategic plan to develop and maintain a plan for recruiting and retaining speech-language pathologists. We appreciate your support and look forward to hearing from you.

Last Name: Negley Locality: Frederick County

Thank you for all you do. Please support this bill to help us provide speech and language therapy to students identified with speech and language disorders. As a Speech Language Pathologist, I work hard to meet the needs of all of my students, as do all of us in the state. We need your support to be able to reduce our workloads and have manageable caseloads. Our students, their families, and our schools deserve to be afforded the best speech services. We need lower caseloads caps. We are the only group in the school system that screens students, evaluates students, writes evaluation reports, case manages about 20 students, develop IEPs, provide therapy services to up to 68 students in an average of 2 different school buildings, and hold re-evaluation meetings as well as provide documentation and data from every speech therapy session. We work hard for our students and we hope you will too! Thank you!

Last Name: Parham-Friday Locality: King and Queen County

I am writing in support of HB 2367. I have had the pleasure of being a school-based SLP for 22 years. I love my career, the students and families that I am blessed to serve. I have worked in two different school divisions during my career and in both within Region 3. We are in need of assistance from the state to help recruit and retain school-based SLPs. In my current division, we employ two full-time speech pathologists, but we require at least another part-time speech pathologist; a full-time position would be outstanding! To ensure we are providing appropriate services, we contract for in-person services with a company. Many of the neighboring divisions do the same and even with the support of contracted companies, there are students whose needs go unmet. Our monies could better be spent for a direct-hire to the division. One method of helping to retain and recruit qualified SLP's would be reducing the number of students to be served on a caseload. The current cap for caseloads in VA is 68 and it far exceeds the national average of 47. The caseload for our students require hours above and beyond the workday to write reports, plan and bill Medicaid. In order to provide this, the VDOE needs to complete the study and develop a strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), as outlined in this bill.

Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Campbell Locality: Yorktown, VA

This is my 7th year as a school-based SLP. I've had the opportunity to work for 3 different school districts in Virginia. Each district I've been employed with has it's own unique strengths and weaknesses. As a whole, the school based SLPs in Virginia are overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed. In my experience, districts view recommended caseload caps as that, recommendations. On a daily basis, I work hours passed my paid contract hours to lesson plan, bill Medicaid and compose reports as I do not have time within the school day to complete such tasks. Most school districts will offer an SLP a teacher salary with a Masters degree stipend. In order to retain and recruit SLPs, I recommend that VDOE considers revising the caseload cap to a workload model as no 2 students are the same. A caseload of 68 articulation and language impaired students has significantly different needs than a student with Autism, etc. and requires additional planning and consulting time working with the educational team. I would also recommend to increase the salary of school based SLPs to be competitive with the private and medical settings SLP salaries.

Last Name: Laing Locality: ashburn

To Members of the House Education-Early Childhood/Innovation Sub-committee, I am writing in support of HB2367.This plan looks to ask the VDOE to generate a strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of SLPs. I’m a speech therapist in the public schools in Loudoun County. During the fall of 2022, I carried a caseload of 75 students. Other colleagues were carrying caseloads similar to mine of 78 students. According to state guidelines, the maximum number of students per speech language pathologist in the county ranges between 55-68 students. Our caseload numbers far exceeded the limit. During this time, the head of the speech and language department reported that they were short 5 speech therapist. Currently, our county is short staffed yet again, as we don’t have an adequate number of speech therapist available to cover maternity leave. The reason I know this is that I was asked to cover a portion of a speech therapist’s caseload, but I pushed back as my caseload itself was growing. As a result, the head of the department serviced the students herself. Lastly, since I’ve worked in this county, I was told that they are no longer permitted to hire part-time speech therapist and that the county would prefer them not to use contract personnel to fill the gap. In essence, speech language pathologists are spread thin with ever changing dynamics of their responsibilities. In closing, our students and our schools are in need of qualified SLPs. In order to provide this, the VDOE needs to complete the study and develop a strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), as outlined in this bill. Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.

Last Name: Haynes Locality: Chesapeake

As a mother to 5 children, some who are lgbtqia+ this is harmful to all of my children. My straight kids have more rights than my non straight children. How is this justifiable? At what point are all people created equal? Why am Ibfirced to have different survival conversations with each of my children because of laws like these? Why are my LGBTQIA+ kids worth less than my straight kids to my state government? At what point will you work to protect all of my children equally?

Last Name: Cote Locality: Round Hill

To Members of the House Education-Early Childhood/Innovation Sub-committee, I am writing in support of HB2367. Last year, the bill was submitted as HB547. In conversations with the members of the committee that reviewed it, there was support and the decision was to lay it on the table and follow up with a letter to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), tasking them with completing the study and developing a strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs). I was grateful for the support that was expressed for school based SLPs throughout the 2022 session. However, the letter was never written and therefore there has been no movement forward on the strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of SLPs. As we are now on the other side of the pandemic, the need for recruiting and retaining SLPs is higher than ever. In the fall of 2022 a survey was sent out to the lead SLPs across Virginia. 47 districts responded. Districts are employing the following professionals to provide the needed speech-language services to their students: ● 98% of districts employ full time SLP/school employees ● 49% of districts employ part time SLP/school employees ● 55% of districts contract SLPs (in person) ● 23% of districts contract SLPs (virtual-telethealth) ● 21% of districts employ SLPAs Even with utilizing all of these options, in November 2022, only 25 of the 47 districts (53%) were fully staffed. Of the 22 districts (47%) not fully staffed, the number of openings ranges from .5 to over 5 full time SLP positions. Students in need of speech-language services are having their needs go unmet. During the 2001-2002 school year, data was collected from all school districts in terms of the number of SLP positions and the number of openings they had. This data also allowed the team to look at the fiscal impact and how many more SLP positions would be needed across the commonwealth if the caseload cap were reduced. However, this data is over 20 years old. Additionally, the need for the reduction of the speech-language pathologists’ caseload has been well established in the Virginia General Assembly per discussion and action in 1989, 1994 and 2000. When the Virginia General Assembly reduced the caseload to 70, it included the intent of the General Assembly to reduce caseloads to a level equivalent to the national average by the year 1999. Yet, the current cap of 68 is well above the national average of 47. Our students and our schools are in need of qualified SLPs. In order to provide this, the VDOE needs to complete the study and develop a strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), as outlined in this bill. Thank you for your consideration,

Last Name: Schmid Locality: Orange County, VA

The proposed HB2367 bill requesting that the VDOE develop a strategic plan for retaining and recruiting school-based speech pathologists is critical. I am 1 of 3 full time speech pathologists in Orange County, VA. The district has not been able to fill the fourth position since at least 2017 (pre-pandemic). Since the 2021-2022 school year, OCPS is meeting employment needs by contracting with a remote speech pathologist who provides teletherapy services from Florida. Even with a recent locally funded $3,500 stipend for Orange County speech-pathologists, the fourth position has remained unfilled. I have spent the first 5 years of my career in speech-pathology serving Virginia public schools through a range of contracted and full-time school positions. When I switched from a contracted role to an internal direct-hire role for a VA school district, I took a $10,000 pay cut. A differentiated pay scale for speech pathologists serving public school districts across the state of Virginia is a critically important step for retention and recruitment of skilled clinicians in public schools. Retention improves student outcomes and promotes positive family relationships.

Last Name: Goforth Organization: Wythe County Public Schools - Speech/Language Pathology Staff Locality: Wythe

Please understand that in the Spring of 2020, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) conducted a survey of speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and educational audiologists in school settings. The survey revealed the median salary for working 9 or 10 months was $66,000 with a median hourly wage of $54.00. In Wythe County Schools, even with the population difference, we are still well below the survey results in each of these areas. The survey also noted some of the population received a supplement for Medicaid billing which we already provide as part of our job responsibility. We appreciate your understanding of the need to develop and maintain a statewide strategic plan for recruiting and retaining speech-language pathologists. We, as a team, feel that our positions warrant salaries that will help recruit and retain qualified SLPs to the public schools in Virginia. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Sincerely, Kara L. Goforth, M.S., CCC-SLP/A Wythe County Public Schools Spiller Elementary, Wytheville (276)724-0517 Employed 20 years

Last Name: Hagee Locality: Wytheville

HB2367

Last Name: Handon Locality: Albemarle

To Members of the House Education-Early Childhood/Innovation Sub-committee, I am writing in support of HB2367. Last year, the bill was submitted as HB547. In conversations with the members of the committee that reviewed it, there was support and the decision was to lay it on the table and follow up with a letter to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), tasking them with completing the study and developing a strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs). I was grateful for the support that was expressed for school based SLPs throughout the 2022 session. However, the letter was never written and therefore there has been no movement forward on the strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of SLPs. As we are now on the other side of the pandemic, the need for recruiting and retaining SLPs is higher than ever. In the fall of 2022 a survey was sent out to the lead SLPs across Virginia. 47 districts responded. Districts are employing the following professionals to provide the needed speech-language services to their students: 98% of districts employ full time SLP/school employees 49% of districts employ part time SLP/school employees 55% of districts contract SLPs (in person) 23% of districts contract SLPs (virtual-telethealth) 21% of districts employ SLPAs Even with utilizing all of these options, in November 2022, only 25 of the 47 districts (53%) were fully staffed. Of the 22 districts (47%) not fully staffed, the number of openings ranges from .5 to over 5 full time SLP positions. Students in need of speech-language services are having their needs go unmet. During the 2001-2002 school year, data was collected from all school districts in terms of the number of SLP positions and the number of openings they had. This data also allowed the team to look at the fiscal impact and how many more SLP positions would be needed across the commonwealth if the caseload cap were reduced. However, this data is over 20 years old. Additionally, the need for the reduction of the speech-language pathologists’ caseload has been well established in the Virginia General Assembly per discussion and action in 1989, 1994 and 2000. When the Virginia General Assembly reduced the caseload to 70, it included the intent of the General Assembly to reduce caseloads to a level equivalent to the national average by the year 1999. Yet, the current cap of 68 is well above the national average of 47. Our students and our schools are in need of qualified SLPs. In order to provide this, the VDOE needs to complete the study and develop a strategic plan for the recruitment and retention of Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs), as outlined in this bill. Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration, Amber Handon, MEd CCC-SLP amber.handon@gmail.com Speech-Language Pathologist working in Charlottesville City Schools.

Last Name: van alstine Organization: myself Locality: Colonial Heights

"I support HB 1396 as introduced, and it deserves a vote." Thank you for your hard work and dedication to the School Choice fight! Quick Links: Join the Rapid Response Team of Virginia for Educational Freedom School Choice petition to legislators Donate to Virginia for Educational Freedom For Our Children, Natassia Grover Director Virginia for Educational Freedom PS- It is vital that you sign our Petition for School Choice today. The thing politicians fear most is large numbers of angry voters, and your signature on the petition will be added to the thousands that have already signed. This Petition will be delivered to the House Educational Committee, and they will be told they must support full and complete School Choice. So click here to sign! Copyright © 2023 Acton Advocacy Group, All rights reserved. Fighting to restore freedom in education in the Commonwealth Our mailing address is: Acton Advocacy Group 11895 Folly Lane Lovettsville, VA 20180 Add us to your address book

HB2388 - Public elementary and secondary schools; programs of instruction on mental health education.
Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Patwardhan Locality: Fairfax County

1454 - are you serious? Anyone who remotely values having an educated society will oppose 1454. Good Lord. 2170 is also utterly ridiculous. I OPPOSE 2170, of course. This undermines students' ability to explore their extracurricular interests in the school setting. 1707 and 2432 - I OPPOSE these. These bills would threaten the safety of trans students. 1803 - I OPPOSE this. People need to trust educators to do their jobs, and not impose their beliefs on public schools. I SUPPORT 1497 and 1566. It is disgraceful how educators are treated in this country, and these bills would begin to rectify that. Thank you, Delegates Convirs-Fowler and Rasoul. I support 2388 and 2439. I SUPPORT 2177 as a foreign language teacher. I just wish more bills promoting foreign language education could be on the agenda.

HB2429 - Athletic trainers; exemption from liability when administering albuterol inhalers, etc.
Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

HB2439 - Elementary and secondary schools; temporary funding for instructional assistants.
Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

Last Name: Patwardhan Locality: Fairfax County

1454 - are you serious? Anyone who remotely values having an educated society will oppose 1454. Good Lord. 2170 is also utterly ridiculous. I OPPOSE 2170, of course. This undermines students' ability to explore their extracurricular interests in the school setting. 1707 and 2432 - I OPPOSE these. These bills would threaten the safety of trans students. 1803 - I OPPOSE this. People need to trust educators to do their jobs, and not impose their beliefs on public schools. I SUPPORT 1497 and 1566. It is disgraceful how educators are treated in this country, and these bills would begin to rectify that. Thank you, Delegates Convirs-Fowler and Rasoul. I support 2388 and 2439. I SUPPORT 2177 as a foreign language teacher. I just wish more bills promoting foreign language education could be on the agenda.

HB2469 - Standards of Learning; assessment revision work group, etc.
Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

HB2495 - Middle School Mathematics Innovation Zone Program; established.
Last Name: Caden Locality: Great falls

I don’t care that these bills are not listed here. This needs to be heard. For Bill 1707 and 2432. A bill that outs queer students to their families forcibly is one of the most dangerous, absurd bill propositions I’ve ever seen. This bill has no regard for the safety of queer children and instead prioritizes parents without any sort of understanding of what life is like for queer people and how often being outed leads to queer children being kicked out, abandoned, injured, and even killed by bigoted family members. It is disgusting to see my government propose a bill like this. A government which passes this bill cannot claim to care for its citizens- it only cares about furthering an anti-queer agenda and a bigoted belief system which is based on nothing. To force children into being outed by their school systems is incredibly disgusting and dangerous. If passed, I believe firmly that that teen mental health will decline and suicide rates will spike, kids will be forced onto the streets- either by their own families or running away, and life for queer youth will become exponentially harder than it already is. The government should be helping its young people, not prioritizing bigoted anti queer views for the older generations. This is disgusting, ineffective, and horrifying to see.

Last Name: Blair Locality: Norfolk

Stop attacking these families and their kids. Gender dysphoria is real, and these children need to be accepted and supported. Their classmates need to learn to accept and be kind to those who are not exactly like they are (so when they grow up, we don't continue to have to deal with the ignorance and cruelty we see here today). Everyone deserves to be who they want to be, this is America, right?

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