Do you know why safe spaces were created? It started with building or businesses such as fire stations or restaurants that scared abused kids could go into and tell an adult what was wrong. Kids walking home from school or walking in an area that were approached by gangs, drug dealers, or the threat of harm / abuse could rush to these places. The idea worked so well it was expanded into schools and other places. In this case the complaining parents claimed it discriminated against non-LGBTQ+ kids. Straight white kids wouldn’t have a safe space those parents shouted. But really all kids know that a teacher will protect a straight white kid, it is the black kids when in the minority and the gay / trans kids that need to know they are safe. The straight black kids and white straight kids can just assume that the staff would protect them but that assumption is not something that gay / trans / non-binary kids have. They don’t assume an authority figure will support them because so many authority figures actively speak badly of them. So they need a sign to tell them if harassed, threatened, abused come here for help or safety. Some parents cannot stand that LGBTQ+ kids are not allowed to be bullied, harassed, picked on, and harmed especially if their kids are disciplined for being the ones doing it. Yes bigoted parents can produce bigoted kids and parents of these kids hate rules protecting the kids their kids like to beat up. As I have reported one of the co-authors / sponsors of the Florida don’t say gay bill admitted that he was angry that gay kids coming out were accepted and not too frightened of harm to come out at all. He was upset these gay kids were not targets for abuse and harm. That is the mind set of people that want to get rid of safe spaces. Notice that the attack on these safe space stickers are driven by the right wing hate machine that calls them indoctrination. The idea of tolerance, kindness, and not harming others is somehow thought to be a harmful ideology by the right. Their own ideology says attack anyone who is different until everyone is just like us. Do we want that taught to kids who grow up and teach it to their kids? And again letting kids know that gay people exist is indoctrination by these people, well I guess telling kids about any reality is indoctrination then. Seriously is there a harm that kids know there are gay people? Is there a harm that kids know there are left handed people or red haired people also? Kids know that there are gay people, it doesn’t make them gay just as kids knowing that there are straight people doesn’t make all kids straight. Hugs
A middle school in New Jersey has removed rainbow-themed “safe zone” signs from its campus. Superintendent Peter Turnamian announced the change at a January 3 board of education meeting.
The LGBTQ+-affirming signage at Long Valley Middle School, in place since 2019, was the result of a student-led effort at inclusiveness. Recent complaints by parents led Turnamian, superintendent for the Washington Township School District, to consult with district lawyers.
“Ultimately, the advice of legal counsel was to have them come down,” Turnamian said of the signs. Lawyers characterized parents’ concern over favoritism as “appropriate criticism.”
The superintendent unveiled plans for a “Profile of a Panther” initiative to replace the safe zone signs, using the school’s mascot to “encourage kindness” among the school’s sixth- to eighth-grade students. Plans for the initiative would be developed with feedback from the community, said Turnamian.
The change marks a victory for parents who lobbied for the signs’ removal. A months-long campaign at school board meetings in the rural township in southern New Jersey brought out residents on both sides of the issue.
“School should be a safe space for all kids, not just some kids,” newly elected school board member John Holly said at the meeting in early January. “Is this just a convenient way to push ideology on kids?” he asked, speaking of the rainbow-themed signage.
One meeting attendee recalled for board members that students were responsible for establishing the safe zone signs.
“There aren’t any kids that are talking about how this is harmful to them,” she said.
A self-identified lesbian and genderqueer student at Long Valley was applauded at a December board meeting: “I can say the LGBTQ+ community is constantly bullied and belittled in our school system. The safe zone rainbow stickers let kids like me know that they are not alone despite their differences. The signs are not hurting anybody, and they are not imprinting on your children. They only promote love and accepting yourself for the way you are.”
“The removal of LGBTQ+ affirming materials from schools is downright shameful. LGBTQ+ students across the country are already facing relentless attacks from legislators, and they deserve — at minimum — to feel safe in the classroom,” said GLSEN Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers. “We’re so thankful for our educators who create inclusive, affirming environments for their students despite hateful opposition from those who seek to erase and silence LGBTQ+ people. There is no place for discrimination in the classroom, and we will continue to fight for representation and visibility of LGBTQ+ communities in all schools across the country.”
Rainbow flags, stickers, and other LGBTQ+-affirming materials have been under attack at schools across the country recently. Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law has had a chilling effect on students’ and teachers’ speech, with rainbow imagery removed from classrooms by school administrators, or preemptively taken down by teachers in fear of losing their jobs.
In September, Proud Boys showed up at a school board meeting in Missouri to protest the display of a small rainbow flag by a seventh-grade teacher after an alderman demanded in a Facebook post that the district “stop indoctrinating and grooming our kids!” In the same month, Bucks County in Pennsylvania banned all rainbow imagery and other “advocacy materials” in classrooms.
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