Melissa Goldman asked a great question requesting the candidates answer. The original Letter to the Editor can be found here, and below is the question followed by my answer. I look forward to the conversation that follows.
Q: The district has added several new programs and policies to support LGBTQ+ student in the past few years. These include the Safe Spaces Initiative at all school sites, the adoption of a policy specifically addressing the rights of transgender students, and a club at the middle school. What changes or additions would you like to see?
A: I fully recognize the need in our evolving society to expand the resources provided to our children and educators. With this in mind, it is deeply important to me that we continue to offer information, training, and services to children who historically would have been shamed into hiding their identity. If I could add a service or option to our school district, it would be to offer a training or education service to individuals that would like to be an ally and understand their peers or students on a level they have not been previously able to. Furthermore, counseling services should be explored to provide support to individuals that are not only navigating their personal journey, but who need help facing external struggles such as conflicts at home and other forms of non-acceptance.
In addition to the services and policies in place to protect these students, I would aim to add training to the Growth and Development Curriculum to allow the educators to navigate this subject in a tone and quality that will show all students that themselves, or their peers that may come out as members of the LGBTQ+ community, are accepted and that nothing is wrong with them or their personal journey. It would also be important to keep the level of information appropriate for each grade the curriculum is offered in.
Antonio R. Jaurigue
School Board District 2 Candidate