The Gay-Straight-Transgender Alliance continues to meet administrative resistance to their latest project.
Last year under club president Kelsey McKim, the club created rainbow-decorated triangles supporting LGBT students. The club meant to request that teachers put them in their rooms in order to show support, but it never happened due to time constraints.
The triangles read: “This is a safe space for all students, including those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, or any other sexual orientation or gender identity. Hate and discrimination will not be tolerated.”
This year, the club’s co-presidents, Zoe Schaver (12) and Maura Hayse (11), sent a letter to Principal Wooldridge explaining their project and included one of the triangles. “We wanted to inform him as a courtesy, because we were going to have teachers put these up in their classes and we thought that he should know,” said Schaver.
Wooldridge took issue with the triangles because there are rules in place which should make the whole school a safe place, and he thought the triangles implied that this was not the case.
“While it is true that there are rules in place to protect LGBT students, they are often specifically targeted for bullying, and the triangles are a message of support,” said Schaver.
Wooldridge then explained to them that, because of his impending retirement, he felt that this was too big a decision for him to make about the school himself. He requested that GSTA take their idea and present it to the SBDM council to gain their approval.
Schaver presented the idea during the council meeting on May 1. The council, including teacher representative Tim Holman, agreed that while the triangles were a good idea, they were not in the council’s jurisdiction.
“The SBDM basically told us that they were fine, just so long as we got the permission from individual teachers,” said Schaver.
However, once the club started to ask teachers to display the symbol, Wooldridge asked Schaver and Hayes to stop distributing the triangles.
According to Schaver, Wooldridge had spoken to the Assistant District Superintendent after their previous meeting. The two of them had decided that the triangles should not be put up until every teacher gets sensitivity training on how to deal with LGBT issues. They were worried that the triangles would be interpreted to mean that students who were dealing with LGBT problems could go to the teacher who displayed the triangle for help, and proper help could not be offered until teachers were educated on the subject.
However, due to the fact that Wooldridge will not be principal next year, he cannot authorize the training for any current teachers. Thus, the triangle project has been pushed back again to be dealt with next year by a new principal.