Topic

Transgender Students

21 petitions

Started 1 month ago

Petition to Dhelfman@mseanea.org , Cbost@mseanea.org , dprouty@mseanea.org , jcoughlin@mseanea.org , malexander@mseanea.org , jheid@mseanea.org, , rbeers@mseanea.org , rbenfer@mseanea.org , Dchristy@mseanea.org , jfahie@mseanea.org , lfirman@mseanea.org , lhrinko@mseanea.org , dschaefer@mseanea.org , boe@fcps.org , superintendent@fcps.org , michael.markoe@fcps.org , Leskelsen@nea.org , Bpringle@nea.org, , Pmoss@nea.org, , michael.bunitsky@fcps.org , joy.schaefer@fcps.org , brad.young@fcps.org , studentmemberboe@fcps.org , jzebley@mseanea.org , bdonoughe@mseanea.org , Rleone@mseanea.org , Echavarria@mseanea.org , kenneth.kerr@fcps.org , colleen.cusimano@fcps.org

We demand justice for Nicola, mom fired for objecting to transphobic slur in school play.

We, the undersigned, are educators and union members, transgender individuals, parents of trans kids, and community members. We are all outraged to hear of the termination of Nicola Van Kuilenburg earlier this year after she (publicly) called for the removal of a transphobic slur from a school play her transgender son planned to attend in Frederick County, Maryland.  Many of us have personal experiences with the word 'tranny'. It is the most commonly used word in acts of violence against transgender people. It is used by bullies when they attack us physically and verbally. It is widely recognized hate speech  and therefore has absolutely no place in schools.  In April of this year Nicola became aware that the performance at Oakdale High included this slur, despite the word being removed from other recent performances in the school district ( GTJHS 2014 performance). She emailed the decision makers- the musical director, the school principal and various Central Office administrators asking them to remove the word. It was only after the school system refused, claiming that it was "empowering" to use a slur without any educational context, did Nicola take this issue to her own personal social media. A number of us saw Nicola's posts that day, and as caring educators, transgender adults or the parents of trans students, we shared our disappointment and frustration with the school district's decision to deliberately introduce such a hateful word. Nicola did not ask for any discipline to be taken against the educators involved, nor did she " threaten students" as was later falsely claimed. Her efforts were simply focused on protecting children, including her own son. We are absolutely horrified to learn that Nicola's advocacy and efforts to create a welcoming and affirming school environment for vulnerable students then resulted in her termination.  To the Leadership of the Maryland State Education Association:  Your decision to terminate Nicola was cruel and sends a strong message that you do not understand the issues facing transgender and gender non-conforming students. We are also disappointed that you would terminate her employment after complaints by a vocal minority that their ability to receive fair representation is undermined by Nicola's advocacy for LGBTQ students and employees. There are many more educators that are very grateful and proud of the work Nicola did as staff liaison to the FCTA LGBT committee. You silenced their voices by not even having the courtesy to respond to their emails expressing their concerns. Instead of taking a stand for safe schools for students, you chose to side with the right of educators to use casual hate speech in schools. We are disgusted that you, in an attempt to justify your actions, would later argue that Nicola should have kept her son from seeing the play. Transgender students have the right to access all educational opportunities- including afterschool plays- without fear of hearing words that are derogatory and offensive. You also made claims during the unemployment appeals process that are simply untrue, particularly with regards to alleged harm suffered by the educator. We know that he received a promotion and enjoyed sold out performances. Again, Nicola never asked for any discipline or retribution for any educators or students. Your rush to terminate her make us also question your commitment to union values for your own employees.. These actions have therefore significantly damaged your reputation and credibility.   Please reinstate Nicola immediately and use the skills she has to continue to provide LGBTQ training and resources to your members and employees. Her work is needed more than ever.   To the Frederick County Board of Education: We were horrified to learn of your letter to MSEA celebrating the removal of Nicola, a single mother. It is our understanding that none of you reached out to her after her attempts to remove the slur, and that you based your letter on one sided allegations. We have seen interviews and social media posts from your BOE President Brad Young that make false allegations against Nicola- including implying that she was hiding prior discipline etc. He has insulted parents of transgender students online, and to this day there has been no apology from FCPS regarding the use of the word. You collectively attacked Nicola's right to free speech as a (tax paying) citizen of Frederick County. Free speech that was only necessary after her earlier private attempts to remove the word were ignored by the school district. Your failure to act to protect transgender youth on that day forced her to reach out to others to ask for their help, and then you condemned those actions without getting the full facts. Despite having a policy that claims to welcome and affirm transgender youth you have actually failed them. We have heard recent stories of transgender students leaving your system due to feeling unsafe and unheard. Your actions with regards to both the play and Nicola confirm you still have a lot of work to do.  Please issue an apology to both the transgender community and to Nicola for your failure to listen to legitimate concerns regarding the safety of vulnerable students. Commit to providing trainings regarding the use of inclusive/ dehumanizing language and adopt Best Practices that include soliciting feedback from marginalized groups when considering using derogatory language in school sponsored activities. Do not ignore parents of transgender students when they attempt to share their concerns with you. Lives are at stake.  To Nicola Van Kuilenburg: We are very sorry that this happened to you. We understand that being the parent of a transgender child means you are frequently forced to fight to keep your child safe from harm. That harm has included asking teachers not to call James " It" and to refrain from misgendering him, along with supporting the right of his GSA to put LGBT affirming posters in their school. Working for a teachers union should never result in a "conflict of interest" because protecting trans youth should be a shared goal for everyone. Research shows that over 50% of transgender boys will attempt suicide and we know that your efforts back in April were simply to prevent James or any other transgender student/adult from feeling " othered" or stigmatized. No parent should ever have their livelihood taken away because they are trying to protect their own child. We recognize that this has been traumatic for your family and that you have been forced to defend yourself from rumors about your motives and false claims of harm caused by your actions. We know you are tired, but applaud your strength and resilience. Please know we support you and have your back. Thank you for taking a stand for transgender youth at a time when physical violence and suicide rates involving transgender individuals is increasing.  Due to the actions of MSEA and the Frederick County Board of Education the Van Kuilenburg family is now facing homelessness. You can support them here:  https://www.gofundme.com/support-the-van-kuilenburg-family      

Concerned FCTA members
1,678 supporters
Started 1 month ago

Petition to Howard Schultz, Starbucks, Rosalind Brewer, Kevin K. Johnson, Mary Dixon, Howard S. Schultz, Donna Johnson, Alexandra Wheeler, Lisa Passe, Erin Leach-Kemon, Lacey All, Tamani Chio, Conor Gentes

Starbucks: Stand Up For Transgender Students

Dear Howard Schultz and Starbucks Employees, The Trump administration is trying to erase transgender lives. Two years ago, my teaching career and twenty-year artistic practice was derailed after I filed a complaint with my school's administration, asking for help with a hostile educational environment. During my first year of school I encountered numerous medical emergencies related to years of being denied proper transgender health care. As a new student in my department, my program’s faculty members renounced their support when I refused to publicly discuss matters of my health. The Department of Education refused to look into the matter because their office of civil rights did not recognize transgender students, even though such rights of students with health issues and disabilities are covered under Title IV and Title II protections. Here's where Starbucks comes in: Your company needs to stand with transgender students and request that its educational partner, Arizona State University, stop retaliating academically against Leopoldo Bloom and allow him to return to his graduate studies for the 2019 Winter Semester. Starbucks should let Arizona State University know that Trans Students have   The right to privacy in their educational records and personal matters. Trans students should be treated like other students and be allowed to return to their studies after encountering health issues. Trans students should be able to report instances of bullying and hostile work environments without being retaliated against and slandered by teachers as having " mental health issues ". Transgender students have a right to a supportive and respectful educational environment. Their request for equal treatment should not be treated as a threat or disruptive behavior to staff and peers. Their academic progress should be judged on merit and academic performance.                                             #StarbucksProtectTrans              Read more at  -      www.myeducationinreverse.com                      www.leopoldobloom.org                            https://vimeo.com/57241121

Leopoldo Bloom
25 supporters
Update posted 8 months ago

Petition to Saint Louis Park school board

Pass the Gender Inclusion Policy for St. Louis Park Schools

~Please sign this only if you are/were affiliated with St. Louis Park Schools (students, staff, parents) and/or a resident of St. Louis Park~ We the students, staff, and parents of the Saint Louis Park School District believe that the school board should pass the Gender Inclusion Policy before the start of the 2017-2018 school year in order to fulfill our commitment to equity by creating a safer, more supportive community for transgender & gender nonconforming students. ************ Trans students face many institutional obstacles that make it harder for them to succeed academically and socially. Currently, St. Louis Park Schools has no district-wide policy that addresses most of these issues, so the Gender Inclusion Policy is quite necessary. The policy aims to: Respect all students’ gender identity and gender expression by honoring the right of students to be identified and addressed by their preferred name and pronoun. Within academic programing, prohibit the separation of students and/or curricular materials based upon gender unless it serves as a compelling pedagogical tool. Provide all students the opportunity to participate in co-curricular and extracurricular activities in a manner consistent with their gender identity, including but not limited to intramural and interscholastic athletics. Provide all students with access to facilities that align with students’ gender identity. A copy of the proposed policy can be found at: https://goo.gl/hTqGiH ************ This petition was created by the St. Louis Park High School Gender Sexuality Alliance in order to show the Superintendent and the School Board that the members of this community care about trans issues and support this policy. St. Paul Public Schools and Minneapolis Public Schools have had very similar policies for over two years, and currently the rules surrounding this issue are up to individual school boards. That being said, we understand that passing a policy like this may still prove controversial, especially in uncertain times like this. But St. Louis Park has a long and proud history of moral leadership on civil rights issues, proving time and time again that we have the chutzpah to do the right thing- protecting transgender students should be no different. Now more than ever, we need to step up, include transgender students in our commitment to equity, and reassure the dozens of transgender kids in our school system that they are safe & loved by this community. Feel free to email SLPschoolsGSA@gmail.com with any comments, questions, or suggestions.

SLP GSA
609 supporters