In honor of Be Kind to Humankind Week, and Bystander Awareness Month, both in August, please take a moment to read the letter I wrote to the school board last school year after a concerning Facebook share from a school board member. Join me in celebrating diversity and ensuring safety for all students!
April 21, 2015
Thank you for your hard and worthy work on behalf of all Jeffco students. I am respectfully submitting the following letter, which addresses the recent controversy around the “Day of Silence”. Thank you.
To the Jeffco School Board Members:
Recently, the “Day of Silence,” a student planned demonstration against bullying and in solidarity with LGBTQ youth, caused new controversy in Jeffco.
In our public schools, we guarantee a safe place for all students–one child at a time.
We don’t ask a child where she was born.
We don’t ask a child who he loves.
We don’t ask a child how he prays.
We welcome each and every child. More than that, we celebrate the beauty and strengths of diversity!
For a quiet moment, feel the weight of the high numbers of depression, homelessness, and suicide among LGBTQ youth. Though only 4% of youth identify as LGBTQ, 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ–they are ten times over represented–and thirty percent of LGBTQ youth attempt suicide near age 15.
Feel the sting of the hurled slur as if it were meant to shame you out of sight. Sit with the stone in your stomach, wondering if you are an okay person, and upon finding the confidence to embrace yourself, having to realize some people will refuse your embrace on principle.
Every school board member must be able to look in the eye of each and every child in our schools and say, “I am here to serve you, to protect your place here, and I’m so glad you are with us.” This role, governing our public schools, is a sacred trust. When an action creates a real wound, real reconciliation requires more than fast apologies.