Recently a member of our community asked the very valid and important question of candidates for school board election. I feel it is important to provide the community with my response. The original letter to the editor can be read by clicking the link below.
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 think the LAPS anti-discrimination policy includes a lot of care for many groups that have been historically oppressed. As a parent what I would love to see next, is not just a statement but action to support that statement. As a school board member, I will inquire about how to take that action. All children deserve to feel safe and respected in their learning environment. I would like to see health education include and normalize gender and sexual identities that are on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. A comprehensive health education that includes the development of different identities should be sought out and implemented. The NMPED website states it clearly in their comprehensive sexual health education guidelines, “for LGBTQ youth, social stigma about their sexual choices or identities can be particularly difficult. Stigma comes in many forms, such as discrimination, harassment, family disapproval, social rejection, and violence. This puts LGBTQ youth at increased risk for certain negative health outcomes.”
I want to create safe spaces for teachers and students who identify as LGBTQIA+, and for parents of students who identity as LGBTQIA+ to share what they feel has been missing from their educational environment. As a current board member I invite anyone to let me know how I can help. It is important to note that no one would ever need to ask, “how can we make heterosexual identifying folks feel safer in schools?” I plan to work tirelessly until we no longer need to ask that question for LGBTQIA+ folks too. Email me at email@example.com
I also want to see education and information made available to staff and parents about what it means to explore gender and sexual identity. If there is a feeling of uncertainty towards supporting folks who identify as LGBTQIA+, I want there to be appropriate opportunities for an individual to be able to express that in a way that is not harmful to others. I want to see education and training for folks who need support understanding why it is critical for schools to not only state that they don’t discriminate against any person for gender and sexual identity, but to actively demonstrate what will not be tolerated in schools.
School Board District 5 Representative & Candidate