During my campaign I am very frequently asked about my position on HCPSS policies for LGBTQ+ students and staff. I am aware one statement will not address all questions, but I want to take this opportunity to share my thoughts so voters may make an informed decision.
As with most issues in life – there is a balance.
HCPSS boasts a very proud and diverse community. We can accommodate all children and parents.We should work in a collaborative manner to deliver our education system in an equitable fashion. I believe it is the role of the BOE to help find a balance that works for all.
These are areas I support:
- I unequivocally respect students & families who want support on gender issues and safety in school.
- I unequivocally respect parents who believe gender discussions should not be part of the academic program unless age-appropriate & with parental permission.
- I support making all children feel safe in school. Children come from all sorts of home and life situations; school can be a respite for so many.
- I support gender neutral bathrooms for anyone who prefers them.
- I support LGBTQ+ and GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) clubs in all schools.
- I support all teachers & their ability to share their personal lives with students in an ageappropriate setting.
- I support providing to any youth a safe setting and a trusted adult to speak with on all topics.
These are areas I do not support:
- I do not support keeping information about the gender identity of a student from their parents.
- I do not support a teacher or staff going out of their way to promote overtly personal opinions that are not related to academics.
- I do not support graphically sexually explicit materials in HCPSS libraries.
I have met with parents of children who are gay and worried about bullying. I have met with parents of children who are transgender and are concerned about acceptance. I have met with parents whose children have asked to change their pronouns but were not notified by the school. These conversations are powerful and remain in my thoughts.
I want to use these meetings, and this understanding, to be a BOE member that is aware of, respectful of, and inclusive of, all members of our community. I am always open to learning and listening. I will continue to meet and learn from Howard County families and teachers on these and other topics. I appreciate these heart-to-heart discussions and grateful for the mutually respectful conversations. It is my hope our community can continue to be respectful towards one another.
I believe at the end of the day; it is about a balance of respect and focus. If I am elected to the Board of Education, it is my goal to help HCPSS provide each student with a solid education that will enable them to grow beyond 12th grade, and to provide that in a safe and respectful space