Interlake: Stand with trans students
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Dear Ms. Frieboes-Gee & the Interlake Administration,
We are writing this letter to request a public announcement from the Interlake administration re-affirming the school’s commitment to protecting trans students’ rights. While we appreciate that existing WA state and BSD policies exist to protect trans and nonbinary students, such as district policy 3210.1P, we the undersigned believe that in light of heightened divisions and discrimination, it is crucial to reassure these students that Interlake will remain a safe space for them, as well as outline the resources that Interlake has available to support them. We hope this public announcement can take place in the form of morning announcements, a school-wide email, and/or a newsletter sent out to Interlake students and families.
Renewing our school’s commitment to trans rights is particularly important in the status quo. The recent reversal of Obama’s Title IX protections for trans students contributes to increased apprehension and fear in the broader LGBTQ community. Furthermore, because violence against trans and queer people in general has increased dramatically since the start of the Trump presidency, this new directive may exacerbate the already concerning fact that 75% trans students feel unsafe at school. Additionally, trans and nonbinary students have a right to know their rights and place within the Interlake community, and to understand the resources available to them. The kind of public announcement we are requesting is crucial to send a counter-signal to the federal government to show that Interlake and BSD are still committed to enforcing existing policies on protecting trans and nonbinary students. It emphasizes that the bullying and mistreatment of trans students will not be tolerated.
Protections for trans and nonbinary students are important to our Interlake community and our core values of integrity, honesty, and scholarship. Adolescents spend a significant amount of their lives in school, and it is essential that all students feel safe enough to attend school and receive the education they deserve. Otherwise, harassment or compromised mental health may impede students’ ability to learn in a productive educational environment. Even seemingly “little” things like the right to be referred to using correct gender pronouns are absolutely crucial to ensuring that trans students are respected by peers. To remain silent on the incredibly real and salient problem of transphobia at Interlake and elsewhere would fly in the face of the district’s commitment to providing “a safe and civil educational environment that is free from harassment, intimidation or bullying.”
Therefore, in the wake of the current political climate, it is particularly important that smaller communities such as Interlake or the Bellevue School District serve as a welcoming and safe space. In addition, the Interlake administration, as educators, possess a particular responsibility to spearhead the process of making our community more inclusive for trans and nonbinary students. After all, the school environment we create today will set the precedent for the kinds of futures we imagine for the rest of our lives.
Thank you very much for your consideration.
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