Superintendent of Schools
Joint Statement on Policies Affecting Transgender Students
Dear ACPS Students, Staff and Families,
Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) prides itself on its diversity and a community that values our work to keep equity at the heart of all decision making. To that end, we were dismayed to learn last week that Governor Youngkin’s administration reintroduced “model policies” affecting transgender students. Since these policies were shared, we have heard from many community members expressing their disappointment and concern for student well-being as we embark on a new school year.
As we did last September, when a draft version of these policies was introduced, we want to reaffirm our commitment to all students, staff and families, including our LGBTQIA+ community, that ACPS will continue to both implement and develop gender affirming policies for all ACPS students. As a School Board and division, we stand by our mission, vision and core values, as outlined in our Strategic Plan: Equity for All, to support all students and staff, in particular our core value of ensuring that we provide a welcoming environment for everyone in our school community.
This commitment has long been a bedrock for all of our work. In December 1996 the Alexandria City School Board initially adopted a policy of nondiscrimination in education. Since 2013, the nondiscrimination policy has recognized gender identity and gender expression as protected classes for equal educational opportunities. School Board Policy JB: Nondiscrimination in Education protects students from discrimination due to gender expression, gender identity, sexual harassment and transgender status.
Our School Board will be discussing these newly released policies as we begin the new school year. Staff is currently reviewing how the 2023 guidance from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) on transgender students differs from the model policies introduced in September 2022. ACPS will continue to ensure that its policies are in alignment with the ACPS Strategic Plan while also complying with federal and state laws.
Our school division is dedicated to the fulfillment of our ACPS 2025 Strategic Plan: Equity for All, which was adopted by the School Board in June 2020. We intend to continue building upon the gains we have accomplished as a school division to place equity at the heart of our work. We will continue to review and develop all policies with an equity lens.
We care about the mental health and well-being of everyone in our community. There are supports in place for our students with the ACPS Department of Student Services and Equity, as well as the Employee Assistance Program for staff. We urge anyone who needs help to please reach out. Once school begins, students can always reach out to a counselor, administrator or any trusted adult in ACPS if they are in need of help. Additionally, our city has the Alexandria LGBTQIA+ Task Force; more information can be found at www.alexandriava.gov/LGBTQ.
Our students can also reach the Crisis Text Line and CrisisLink at any time of the day or night, seven days a week, through the contacts below:
- Text: CONNECT to 85511
- Call CrisisLink: 703-527-4077
- Text: HOME to 741741
Please know that ACPS is here to support our school community. For families who have any additional questions or concerns, please reach out to your child’s school or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team will continue to share any new updates with the ACPS community.
Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt
Superintendent of Schools
Dr. Michelle Rief
Alexandria City School Board Chair