Our school environment was created to be inclusive, but LGBTQ+ students haven’t been included effectively. Posters advertising our inclusiveness aren’t enough–we need to start putting in the work to make all of those pride letters feel valued! While we all want to think our school fits the perfect state of inclusiveness within all different faces, gender, and identities, it’s hard for everyone to achieve that. Although our school does well including most people, do we include LGBTQ+ well here at Green Level?
“I do know that there are some students in our school who say things that are ignorant and not inclusive…we as teachers are trying to combat that,” says Mrs. Hill, zeroing in on the main reason why LGBTQ+ students may feel targeted: their peers. The bullying from our own student body is discouraging us from being ourselves and teachers can only do so much. As Hill later states, “I certainly hope that they feel like they can come to us as a staff so that they can get help getting rid of that feeling because sometimes if we don’t know we can’t help.” The solution needs to be through our student body since this is where the problem started and where it needs to end!
But, how do we do this? Sophomore Yassine Soussi brings up several good ideas. “[LGBTQ+ students are] not being excluded, but not really being included, he says. “Although I’m not sure of some steps, our school has taken good ones such as creating clubs and having monthly meetings within it. There would be less ignorance if a gay-straight alliance club existed, as well as raise awareness. This could be a roundtable discussion.”
Kaitlyn Richardson, a freshman, agrees. She said, “ I think people are included but there are still people who are definitely judgemental and noninclusive, while everyone including LGBTQ+ deserves to be included.” Another freshman, Jake Hill, shared an alternative perspective. “I think in this school they are included while other schools may struggle,” he said. “Here, I feel that everyone is just nice to each other.”
While we thank Hill for sharing his thoughts, it shows us that students have had a diverse experience of bullying. Students such as Hill may think this is a very inclusive school because they aren’t a member of the LGBTQ+ community and haven’t faced as much bullying, but as several other students showed us it is an issue. Sophomore Darian King, wrapped this idea up for us simply: “I feel like they are being included because they have their own club, but I feel like if we put it out more I guess more people will go to the club.”
Overall, students are mixed within groups and everyone is included, but that doesn’t mean the school is free of judgment, and the groups involving LGBTQ+ are well advertised. With a spread of awareness and sharing their daily oppression, do you think the school would have less judgment?