Tag Archives: School Boards & School Districts

Florida drawn in chalk on green school chalkboard
Bill Mathias Official Photo

School Board Member Bill Mathias finds it “odd” that I write about Lake County, since he is “sure there is injustice in [my] part of the world.

The long-running dispute over the right of students to form a gay-straight alliance (GSA) at Carver Middle School in Lake County, Florida, is headed to trial in federal court this week before a Nixon-appointed judge, the Honorable William Terrell Hodges. For some background on the saga, check out the short local news video and the list of earlier Youth Allies posts (below).

It’s certainly frustrating that the school board, after all this time, is still fighting this club. (Some readers may recall that one Lake County School Board member told me in a ridiculous email almost two years ago that the board had “not blocked the GSA.” That statement, evidently, was false. Around the same time, another school board member inappropriately questioned a middle school student’s sexual orientation in an email to blogger Katy Bourne.)

Nevertheless, I am inspired by the tenacity and courage of the students, their families, their attorneys, and their many other allies. I wish them much luck (though they shouldn’t need it) as they continue their work to overcome the misunderstandings, misinformation, unfounded fears, hostility, and bias that have run rampant in Lake County over this issue. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.

There’s No Parental “Liberty” to Dictate Discrimination

Posted by MK on Apr 15, 2014 @ 6:03 am
Texas on Green School Chalkboard

There’s been a bit of a flap in Lumberton, Texas, where school officials suspended transgender school teacher Laura Jane Klug after parents complained that she was a “distraction.” Fortunately, the school district appears now to have reinstated Ms. Klug, though the district says it has not made a final decision, and it has asked her not to come back right away to minimize distraction during a student testing period.

One parent concerned about Klug’s presence in the classroom reportedly said, “Each parent has the individual liberty, individual rights to determine at what age it is appropriate for their children to be exposed to certain things.”

Actually, no. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.

Arkansas on Green School Chalkboard

I was disappointed to read that gay Arkansas student Taylor Ellis has faced increased homophobia after speaking out against his school’s anti-gay censorship. Administrators at Sheridan High School, south of Little Rock, are refusing to include an interview with Ellis in this year’s yearbook, because the interview discusses Taylor’s coming out as gay. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post—and to learn how to help.

North Carolina on Green School Chalkboard

Earlier this week, I published a post and video about a brave nine-year-old, Grayson Bruce, who had spoken out publicly against bullying after getting verbally and physically attacked at his North Carolina school. Other kids had picked on him relentlessly because they thought his My Little Pony bag was “girlie.” And to make matters worse, school administrators initially responded by telling Grayson not to wear the bag, saying it was the “trigger for bullying.” (Check out my original post for further thoughts on that.)

Fortunately, the school has changed course (though it took a national outcry) and will allow Grayson to wear his bag. Administrators have published the following statement from Grayson’s mother, Noreen Bruce, on the district’s Facebook page:

Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post.

Though the school officials’ behavior infuriates me, the young boy at the heart of this news story moves, impresses and inspires me.

A courageous and well-spoken nine-year-old, Grayson Bruce, is standing up publicly to school bullies—and to his school—after facing vicious bullying for his supposed gender nonconformity. Some of the other kids in his North Carolina school district have attacked him verbally and physically because they think his My Little Pony bag is for girls.

School officials have dealt poorly with the situation, to say the least: They reportedly blamed the mistreatment on Grayson and his bag—and told him not to wear it—rather than focusing their punitive action on the bullies. (They called the bag a “trigger for bullying.”)

The bag, it should go without saying, does not harm anyone. Nor does it harm anyone that a young boy happens to like toys or cartoons that have traditionally been marketed toward girls. The “triggers for bullying” here were small-mindedness, immaturity, ignorance and gender stereotyping. Not My Little Pony. By treating kids like Grayson as the problem, schools empower bullies and reinforce narrow and oppressive notions of gender that stifle young people’s creativity and their freedom to be themselves. Click here or on ‘Read More’ to view the full post and to learn how to support Bruce Grayson on Facebook.