December 5, 2022

LGBTQ School News Roundup: Scotland Adds LGBTQ Education; Texas Students Protest Discrimination; Catholic School Rehires Out Coach; Florida School District Investigating Hate Actions

MacArthur High School Walkout

Scotland Becomes First Nation with In-School LGBTQ Curriculum

41 years after decriminalizing homosexuality, Scotland announced a plan to introduce LGBTQ school lessons and resources throughout all school levels, becoming the first nation in the world to do so.

Developed in cooperation with LGBTQ advocacy groups, the curriculum additions will include lessons on LGBTQ history and issues in addition to education on LGBTQ identities aimed at reducing malevolent and/or ignorant attitudes toward LGBTQ students and promoting inclusion. Teachers will also be given additional resources, including specific training in LGBTQ inclusive education and resource tools meant to aid educators in discussing LGBTQ topics and supporting LGBTQ youth.

“I experienced bullying and prejudice at school for being gay, and it had a detrimental impact on my confidence and wellbeing for some time,” Jordan Daly, co-founder of advocacy group Time for Inclusive Education, told The Scotsman. “This new website, and the supporting resources, which have been co-developed with teachers across Scotland, will support teachers to take a proactive, educational approach to tackling prejudice. Most importantly, this work will empower young people and provide them with an opportunity I didn’t have at school – to feel valued, confident, and proud of who they are.”

Texas Students Protest LGBTQ Discrimination With Walkout

Hundreds of students at MacArthur High School in Irving, TX walked out of classes in protest of apparent discriminatory actions against the school’s LGBTQ students and teachers. The students marched out of the school Wednesday in a rainbow wave after multiple rainbow heart stickers placed on classroom doors and windows signifying they were safe spaces for LGBTQ students were mysteriously removed.

The stickers and their significance have been a hotly debated topic at the school in recent weeks. An internal staff memo from the school district supported the idea of making “campuses a safe zone for all students,” yet a school district spokesperson told a local CBS affiliate that its policy states that “teachers shall not use the classroom to transmit personal beliefs regarding political or sectarian issues.”

Multiple students associated with the school’s Gay Straight Alliance reported being called into meetings with school administration “randomly,” with one student describing the meeting as a 45-minute “long, drawn out interrogation.” Rachel Stonecipher, a teacher who sponsors the school’s Gay Straight Alliance felt targeted after a Safe Space poster outside her classroom was removed. “I was freaked,” Stonecipher said. “I’m the only openly, very obviously gay teacher, lesbian teacher.”

Multiple students held up signs displaying support for Stonecipher during Wednesday’s walkout.

Chicago Catholic School Reverses Course, Rehires LGBTQ Coach

Students put their voices to use in Chicago as well as Benet Academy, a Catholic high school, decided to rehire lacrosse coach Amanda Kammes after initially declining to do so because of her sexual orientation.

Kammes was offered the head coaching position of Benet’s girls lacrosse team earlier this month but the offer was rescinded after she listed her wife as an emergency contact on paperwork. A petition signed by 2,200 students, parents and alumni criticized the school’s decision and called for it to be reversed. A collection of students and parents protested near the campus earlier this week pushing for the same requests.

“We write to express our dismay and anger at the news that Benet Academy recently declined employment to an otherwise qualified candidate on the basis of her marriage to another woman,” the petition read. “By rejecting a talented potential staff member on the basis of whom she loves, you have utterly failed to uphold the principles of dignity and charity that you purport to practice as a Christian institution.”

The school announced its reversal on Thursday after “an honest and heartfelt discussion on this very complex issue.” Kammes’ job offer was reinstated and Benet expressed a desire to “look for opportunities for dialogue in our community about how we remain true to our Catholic mission while meeting people where they are in their personal journey through life.”

LGBTQ Pride Homecoming Parade Float Draws Community Support

Attacks calling an LGBTQ Pride float in a Williamson County, TN Homecoming parade “recruitment,” “sexually lewd” and “traumatic for kids” were met with community support for the LGBTQ students at school boad meeting Monday night.

LGBTQ students rode the float during the Independence High School Homecoming parade last week, celebrating their identities and handing out informational flyers about bisexual awareness week. Social media accounts for the group Moms For Liberty posted images of the float alongside claims that the flyers and seeing two girls kiss on the float sexualized children and was traumatic for younger children viewing the parade.

Multiple community members came to the students’ defense Monday during the school board meeting. “Does calling for your people to come here and persecute LGBTQ kids for the crime of letting the world know they exist and showing love for one another not fly in the face of what you claim to stand for,” siad parent Justin Kanew. “That video is not a French kiss. It is a quick peck that I had to watch three times to catch and if it were a boy and a girl there is zero chance anyone would have cared.”

Some of the students present on the float also spoke about the supportive climate school provides, especially when their homes don’t have the same environment. “To have a community at school for our people is very important and I hope that we can keep this here because I have many firends who fear for their safety,” said Mia Elias, a student who was on the float. “This is the one place we are safe.”

Florida School District Takes Action Against Homophobic Students

School district officials in St. Johns County, FL are promising action against students at Bartram Trail High School after footage of students stomping Pride flags, lambasting LGBTQ students with anti-LGBTQ slurs and flying a confederate flag circulated around social media. A student who filmed the incident, who is trans and was also targeted during the incident, reported that the group was targeting the school’s Gay Straight Alliance.

School district spokesperson Christine Langston told local news outlet News4Jax that the occurrence is actively being investigated alongside the st. Johns County Sheriff’s Office resource deputy and “all those involved will receive consequences which align with our student code of conduct.”

“This behavior is not acceptable and is not indicative of the culture and students at BTHS,” Langston continued. Students reported that the school reiterated its firm stance against hate speech during an announcement on the next school day, but some still feel unsafe.

The investigation remains ongoing.

LGBTQ School: Previously on Towleroad

Screenshot via YouTube

LGBTQ School News Roundup: Scotland Adds LGBTQ Education; Texas Students Protest Discrimination; Catholic School Rehires Out Coach; Florida School District Investigating Hate Actions