February 23, 2017
Statement from Jeff and Tricia Raikes in Support of Transgender Students
By Jeff & Tricia Raikes
Co-founders

"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.

 

Allowing them to access the bathroom of their choice was meant to provide a very basic protection and signal that their schools are a safe space in which to learn and develop as individuals. We founded the Raikes Foundation because we believe every young person, particularly those most marginalized by society, deserves a chance to succeed. It is our hope that teachers, principals and caring adults in communities across the country will continue to make the more than 150,000 young people who identify as transgender feel that they are valued, that they belong and that they can succeed in school.”