Next Meeting is TBD
Victoria Cobb, PresidentOctober 18, 2023
“Trust is earned in drops and lost in buckets. As a parent of students that attend Newport News public schools my trust for this school system is being lost, in buckets,” said Rhonda Williams, a mother of three children, two of whom currently attend Newport News public schools. “Now is your opportunity to earn our trust back," she said. "Demonstrate courage and protect kids by protecting their parents’ rights to be involved.” Rhonda joined her voice with 200 other parents and concerned citizens at the “Protect Every Kid” press conference hosted by The Family Foundation of Virginia and its local parental rights groups, Speak Up! Newport News and Speak Up! Tidewater this week (Monday, Oct. 16). Click Button below to watch Rhonda's comments and news coverage of the rally.
Parents like Rhonda had one central question: When it comes to how transgender issues are handled at school, Why were our school boards in a rush to push through policies that cut parents completely out of the process, largely in response to political pressures from the Northam administration? But now that the pressure is reversed, and it's the parents themselves filling school board meeting after meeting and asking for their rights to be restored (through the Youngkin revisions)—why are these families, these moms and dads, now being ignored? It begs the question, who are the schools really accountable to? "Policies that insert a barrier between kids and their parents open the door to things like sexual predators and psychological manipulation by disempowering parents from being that natural protection for their kids,” said Candi Cushman, a Vice President for The Family Foundation. “This is not hypothetical; this harm is well documented through the real-life stories of families right in Virginia.” Watch her comment:
The good news, is parents in Virginia Beach decided they had enough and filed a lawsuit against their school board. Victory resulted last week when the school board adopted a policy that stops the practice of hiding potentially life-saving information from parents when their kids experiment with gender identity at school. The message at the 'Protect Every Kid' rally was clear: It's time for other school boards to do the same and follow the law. The demand from parents was especially timely with the Newport News school board meeting the very next night (Tuesday)—where again, no action was yet taken. The Suffolk school board decided last Thursday to table the issue, delaying action for another month. At least five school districts have openly rejected the Youngkin revisions, including several NOVA school districts and the Amherst school board. Roanoke, Spotsylvania and Virginia Beach are among those who've aligned with the parental rights provisions. What happens if other school boards continue to ignore and disrespect parents? Vicky Manning, an at-large school board member from Virginia Beach, made it clear: "If school boards don't adopt these policies required by law they are opening themselves up in their districts to similar lawsuits. Ultimately this is about protecting children ... Parents, if they don't [align] seek out legal counsel to make sure they do." Watch her comment:
In summary, parents challenged their school districts to take immediate action to align with revised model language making it clear that:
•Schools can no longer have policies encouraging or instructing teachers to hide relevant information from parents about their kids. "It’s time to stop leaving parents in the dark when sexual and gender-identity experimentation are promoted by school officials to their kids at school," said TFF's Cushman.
•Parents must be notified and given an opportunity to object before counseling regarding gender is givento their children.
•Schools can’t constitutionally compel employees or students to speak words that violate their faith or conscience.
Angela Kilgore, the Suffolk mom who was banned from praying while trying to offer a public comment on the issue at her school board meeting, also spoke at the rally. She explain her reason for concern: "My youngest daughter was in school when a transgender student entered the female locker room and invited other male students to enter. This was traumatizing and the beginning of my journey to inform parents of the policies being put in place." She ended her comment with timely scriptural encouragement. "The Bible tells us to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves," she said, quoting Proverbs 31:8-9. Watch her comment.
How You Can Help
1. Share the full video of the "Protect Every Kid" rally with friends, church members and family.
2. Contact your school board members and ask them to align their policies with the revised “2023 Model Policies on the Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools.”
3. Sign up to speak—either in person or via video—at your local school board meetings. Ask board members to take a vote as soon as possible to align with the parent-friendly, revised policies.
4. Join your voice with others using the Protect Every Kid “speak up” tools and talking points. Get started now by clicking the Protect Every Kid image!
WE HAVE ALSO INCLUDED A LINK WITH THE INFORMATION FOR EACH SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER. Please view this link below, and send your support of these policies to our School Board.
Does our Protect Every Kid website info meet this need? Let us know what you think: https://www.familyfoundation.org/protecteverykid
***Note: This template can be used for other county school boards. If you are from a surrounding county, just plug your county name in and use "Speak Up! Peninsula" as the team name. (SB Sample Letter) (SB Area Addresses & Members)
Co-Director, Speak Up! Newport News
Dear (Insert School Board member name),
My name is (insert your name) and I am a resident of Newport News and a member of Speak Up! Newport News. I am reaching out to inform you that the Youngkin administration has released revised policies on transgender issues facing our school system.
These policies provide much needed support to teachers and parents alike in helping our children learn and grow in a safe environment that protects their individual rights. I am asking you to move as soon as possible to vote to align Newport News Public School System policies with the Youngkin Administrations revised “2023 Model Policies on Ensuring Privacy, Dignity, and Respect for All Students and Parents in Virginia’s Public Schools.”
These policies support the parent’s involvement in the education of their children and should be adopted immediately.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
(Insert your name)
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