FourScore (1000+ posts) Wed Apr-13-11 05:13 PM
What I heard at my child's school stopped me dead in my tracks
Edited on Wed Apr-13-11 05:36 PM by FourScore
I was walking in the hall at my child's middle school this morning when the announcements came over the intercom. After the gentleman who usually leads the announcements finished reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, he handed the microphone to another teacher. This is what I heard:
Ms. XYZ: "That is so gay!" "You are so gay!" "Stop acting so gay!"
I stopped dead in my tracks.
Ms. XYZ: These statements, even when said in jest, are used in a derogatory manner. They are said as though being gay is inferior. They are discriminating to our gay and lesbian community. For that reason, we do not, and will not, condone such comments at our Middle School. Middle school is a time when young people may begin to discover their sexuality. Some of the students at this school are beginning to recognize that they are gay or lesbian. Such derogatory comments can cause a gay student to experience confusion and depression. They may feel "less-than" or as though something is wrong with them. Such feelings may cause that student to withdraw from social interaction or social events. In the most tragic cases, such feelings of inadequacy and confusion may lead a young person to commit suicide."
She paused and continued. I stood there like a statue:
"All of my students and the staff here at XYZ Middle School know that I am a lesbian. If any student at this school feels a need to discuss and understand homosexuality better, they should know that my door is always open to such a discussion." (I felt my arm do a fist-pump)
She then went on to talk about a national campaign, a day of silence, to honor those homosexuals in our community who have suffered from discrimination. And to remember those lives that were tragically lost along the way. Pledge cards would be available in the office. Students who wish to participate in the Day of Silence are required to fill out a pledge card. They would then be distributed to the staff so that each teacher will know which students are participating.
After the announcement was over, I went straight to the office and asked for Ms. XYZ's room number. When I arrived, her class was full of students and she was about to begin her lesson. She looked at me quizzically and asked what she could do for me. "I just want to shake your hand," I said as I entered the room. The kids fell silent. Ms. XYZ looked baffled. "I heard your announcement over the intercom," I continued, "and I just can't thank you enough." She smiled at me and shook my hand. We shared a few more words, and she told me how successful last year's Day of Silence had been. And then I left. It was a great way to start my day.
This afternoon, after I picked my son up from school, I asked him if he was going to participate in the Day of Silence. "Of course I am!" he exclaimed. "I did it last year too! It's really hard to do all day, but it's pretty powerful. Most of my friend's are doing it, too." I gave him a big hug and told him I was proud of him.
He nodded. Then he asked for a cookie.