It Doesn’t Inevitably Get Better: Implement the FAIR Education Act →
#students with disabilities
#FAIR Education Act
#it gets better
#make it better
LGBTQ students and students with disabilities face some of the highest rates of bullying. They’re also disproportionately suspended and expelled from school, along with students of color, showing that punitive discipline is not the solution to bullying and often hurts the youth it seeks to protect. Excluded from history, tormented by classmates and disproportionately kicked out of school, LGBT students and people with disabilities are often taught at school to feel worthless.
With the enactment of California’s FAIR Education Act, students can learn that these marginalized groups have actually made incredible contributions to this country’s history. They can learn that an openly gay man, Bayard Rustin, played a key role in the African-American Civil Rights movement—but that because of his identity, he was kept out of the spotlight and out of the history books. Students can learn that Americans with disabilities courageously fought for rights and protections under U.S. law, marking an important chapter in legislative history.
The FAIR Education Act gives California a tremendous advantage in the struggle to curb bullying. We just need to use it.
David Phan & the intersection of racism, homophobia, & school responses to bullying →
Racialicious takes a powerful look at David Phan’s suicide:
"As reported in The Salt Lake Tribune, on the day David committed suicide, Bennion alerted his mother, Phuong Tran, to let her know that her son had been suspended. When Tran rushed to the school, she was told by the principal that the reason for David’s suspension was because they found a condom in his backpack. When asked why a condom should justify suspension, she was told that they would discuss it further the following Tuesday.
Apparently, Bennion exists in a universe where the search of an Asian-Pacific Islander American (APIA) student’s body and personal property is warranted, and where a condom on campus is seen as a sign of criminal behavior rather than mature responsibility (not to mention that many public schools freely give out condoms to students to encourage safe-sex practices). Whereas David’s Vietnamese family unconditionally embraced him when he came out as gay, Bennion and Granite turned its back on David as he endured anti-gay bullying–and used the condom to punitively construct David’s sexuality as a threat to the school.”
LGBT youth, advocates oppose more cops in Chicago public schools →
#school to prison pipeline
Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, a member of the National Association of GSA Networks, doing amazing work:
“A student had been relentlessly targeted by other students around sexual orientation,” she said. “It was reported to school leaders repeatedly and they did nothing. The student thought his safety was in danger and he brought mace to school and he was expelled. Had the school actively addressed the bullying situation and ensured safety for that student, the student would never have been expelled.”
Mauro Ortega, 16, a CPS student who identifies as LGBT and is a member of VOYCE, spoke after the press conference about his own experience with bullying and unfair discipline.
“Back when I was younger, I used to be bullied a lot by certain students and this continued for about two years and I’d always tell the teacher, ‘He’s bothering me, he’s picking on me,’” he said. “The teachers talked to him and his mother but he still wouldn’t stop and so it came to a day when I was in a class … and we were in woodworking together and we were partners. He was picking on me and he hit me on the head with a piece of plywood and it snapped and I told him to stop and he started pushing me and we got into an altercation.”
“I think [being an LGBT student] was a really big motivation of it,” he added. However, Ortega was arrested even after he tried to explain what had happened.
“Some teachers notice, and they take action, some don’t notice until you ask them for help, but I think it was around a 75% percent chance that … I was being helped,” he said.
Five teenagers sat around a table and shared their stories of the trials and tribulations that went with passing through high school as an LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) youth.
One had to transfer schools because of bullying without any administrative help; another almost dropped out of high school altogether. Each story they told had one common, underlying theme: that the school system had failed them, but they chose to rise above it and succeed in spite of it.
The entire time they talked there was an unprecedented silence over the crowd. I go to high school, I have attended assemblies, and never in all of my life in school have I seen such attention, respect, and quiet from such a large group of teenagers. I think it was then that I really understood just how powerful the YES event was, and how relevant it was to all of these kids’ lives.