"By reversing basic civil liberties afforded to transgender students, the administration is further ostracizing a group of students who have been historically underserved by our public schools and communities. To understand the consequences of this decision, it’s important to remember why the federal government felt it necessary to issue this bathroom guidance in the first place.
Research shows academic achievement declines significantly when students are discriminated against or don’t feel safe – and transgender youth are especially vulnerable. They are already more likely to be bullied and harassed in school, experience depression and drop out before receiving a diploma. Nationally, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) youth account for up to 40 percent of the youth homeless population, and one in five transgender individuals have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives.
"We started the Raikes Foundation to build on our personal commitment to the idea that all young people should have equitable access to the systems that help them prosper, regardless of where they are from. These values were instilled in us as children growing up in Washington State and Nebraska; and they are the fundamental ideals that have driven our lives’ work. It’s a part of what makes us so proud to be American.
Over the past few days, the basic civil liberties of immigrants and refugees have been challenged by policies that do not represent the integrity of our great nation. We empathize with those who both seek refuge from persecution and those who come here in search of a better life.
Yesterday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee took an historic step to improve the lives of young people in our state. The governor issued an executive order to begin the process of creating a Department of Children and Families in our state. Such a change would ensure that Governor Inslee, and future Washington governors, hear frequently and directly about issues affecting our most vulnerable children and families.
In taking this bold action, the governor is hoping to correct a decades-old dynamic where the needs of children and families receive insufficient attention because of the many competing priorities at the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).
Currently, Children’s Administration, which oversees Washington’s child welfare system as well as many of the state’s homeless youth services, is one of seven administrations within DSHS. As a result, despite the best intentions of the leaders and front-line workers at DSHS, many issues related to children and families have gone unaddressed and problems have gone unresolved.