Fairfax Co. public schools move toward benefits equity for LGBTQ+ staff

The Fairfax County School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a proposed plan for “family planning benefit parity” for LGBTQIA identifying employees across the county’s system.

In a statement, school board member Karl Frisch said heterosexual terms in insurance and family planning benefits cause those who don’t identify in a heteronormative way to pay for treatments out of pocket.

“To attract and retain a premier workforce, especially in this extremely competitive hiring environment, qualified FCPS employees must have equitable access to the school division’s robust family planning medical benefits,” Frisch said. “Our LGBTQIA employees and their families deserve the same respect and support as anyone else. Fairness is fundamental.”

Frisch also highlighted local government and business grants that help provide equitable access to qualifying LGBTQIA employees.

While some states require the inclusion of non-heterosexual family planning and medical benefits, the board member notes Virginia is not among them.

Superintendent Michelle Reid will have six months “to determine the legal pathway available for Virginia school divisions to offer such support, analyze current FCPS family planning benefits to create a list of treatments and costs needed for parity, and develop an implementation plan, including consideration for potential structure, staffing and budgeting,” the statement said.

The school board will review Reid’s assessment once completed, and consider the review as they begin planning for its implementation.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for WTOP.com. Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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