You may have seen the Rolling Stone article about our district this weekend. (Here’s the link: http://tinyurl.com/6nzrpw9)
It is a difficult read. The description of the suicides in our district is heartbreaking. The description of our district’s response is not flattering.
It is a challenge to respond to an article like this. On one hand, these are stories that need to be told. If we are going to address the challenges our LGBT students face, we need to take a hard look at what has happened in our district. It has never been more clear that we must continue to take these issues seriously and keeping working toward providing our students with a safe and welcoming environment in our schools.
On the other hand, any teacher in our district will see that there is a fair amount of melodrama in the story. The article shows only the worst of our community. Though the public’s response has not focused on teachers, some of the magazine’s depictions of educators will not match what you know to be true of your colleagues.
I wish all of my comments to the reporter were included in the article. I told her how every educator I know takes quick, significant action whenever they see bullying. I told her how teachers have been leading the effort to make sure each of our students knows they are valuable part of our community.
I told her our community had been unfairly characterized by people who focused on the opinions of a small, fringe group - the same group that was the focus of the article. I also told her that we were making real progress this year and that the atmosphere was changing for the better.
As you read the article, remember, there is fact and fiction in every story. Let’s take what is true and learn from it to make our schools better. Let’s take the fiction and make sure it never becomes fact.
Thank you for the work you do. I am honored to be your colleague,