As most of you probably know by now, the FCPS School Board voted 10 to 0 in favor of LGBTQ-inclusive changes to the Family Life Education (FLE) curriculum!
Elizabeth Schultz and Thomas Wilson were not in the room for the vote. During the discussion, they both asked to delay the proceedings, complaining they were too busy to read comments submitted by the public because they were attending so many graduations. I know of at least two candidates challenging Schultz (Robert Walter and Laura Jane Cohen) and two challenging Wilson (Stella Kakissis Pekarsky and Ted Velkoff) who could easily do both.
I want to single out FCPS Pride and Robert Norris Rigby for being the driving force behind the amazing show of support from our community. From encouraging written comments to turning supporters out at meetings and getting people signed up to speak, Robert and FCPS Pride were the backbone of this effort. I also want to thank the many members of the Fairfax LGBTQ+ Democrats and Fairfax County Democratic Committee for being there each step of the way.
Most of all, I want to thank the Democrats on our School Board and their appointees to the FLECAC for standing up for science, equality, equity, and the simple human dignity of ALL students. If you want to know why next year matters, this is a prime example. We need to elect more champions for good things to happen.
To Karen Keys-Gamarra, Ryan McElveen, Ilryong Moon, Megan O’Brien McLaughlin, Jane Strauss, Pat Hynes, Tamara Derenak Kaufax, Sandy Evans, Karen Corbett Sanders, and Dalia Palchik — there are LGBTQ+ FCPS students who are out and those who won’t come out for a few more years — maybe in college.
These students were watching last night and perhaps they were scared to hear some of the hateful things being said about them. Perhaps they heard the voices of Republican school board members and wondered how anyone in the community could have voted them into office. Perhaps they even had friends or parents at the meeting speaking out against these changes. Thankfully, they also had you. With your voices and your votes, you made their lives a little bit easier.
I know I speak for tens of thousands of Democrats in Fairfax County when I say, we will show you our thanks by sending you two reasonable, compassionate, and equality-minded NEW colleagues next year.
Chair, Fairfax County