FAIRFAX COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — LGBTQIA+ students are speaking out after an Instagram account was created on Monday that “outed, attacked, and used slurs” against members of the community at Lake Braddock Secondary School, a statement from the Pride Liberation Project said.
The statement asked that Fairfax County Public Schools take steps to combat this harassment and prevent a similar situation from happening again. They said that this “coincided with a rise in anti-Queer policies across the country.”
In the midst of this, the Florida Senate on Tuesday passed the controversial “The Parents Rights in Education” bill. Pride Liberation Project is a student-run group of queer and allied students in Fairfax County Public Schools, who advocate for the rights of LGBTQ+ students. Pride Liberation Project’s lead organizer and FCPS student, Aaryan Rawal says many anti-queer actors are feeling emboldened by this type of legislation.
“We’ve just seen this constant barrage of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks occur against students and it’s having a real impact because you just can’t learn if you’re worrying about whether your basic rights are going to exist tomorrow,” said Rawal.
Fairfax County Public Schools forwarded a message to our newsroom that the Lake Braddock Principal sent to the community condemning the social media posts. “Every student at Lake Braddock has the right to feel safe and respected,” wrote Principal Daniel W. Smith. “I am meeting with members of our LGBTQ+ student groups this week to listen, learn and continue the dialogue around their experiences in our school community.”
“Because of the recent Governor elections have started to push to ban queer materials in our libraries and just our classes in general and suppressing those discussions can be incredibly harmful for queer students,” said Rawal.
Rawal also says the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation nationwide is already having an impact locally and creating an unsafe school environment for queer students. Rawal also says it’s not far fetched to imagine Virginia adopting anti-queer measures similar to Florida’s.
“It is concerning to see this legislation emerge in other states, especially because we know that states don’t exist in vacuums, and what one state does is oftentimes replicated and mimicked by another state,” said Rawal.
The account has since been removed by FCPS’s cybersecurity team and the student responsible has been identified. FCPS also says appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.