Positive space 0
The school board’s decision to back off Positive Space plaques in some of its schools is bewildering.
While good work has been done by the board to welcome people of all sexual orientations to its schools, direction from trustees at their Aug. 28 meeting gives a confused message.
It was at that meeting where trustees suggested elementary schools slowly introduce the idea of the signs to parent councils and that not all of the schools would put the plaques up.
This after 15 responses came in from the public about the wording and message.
Some said the terminology was too advanced for young kids, while others had problems with the signs’ lifestyle message, among other things.
The signs read: “This is a place where all people are respected, and where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and two-spirited people, and their families, friends, and allies are welcomed and supported.”
The message is one of acceptance and serves to introduce students to proper terminology at the age when they are learning just as many hurtful alternatives from their peers and society at large.
Unfortunately, there’s a real chance these plaques won’t make it up at all schools.
Director of education Larry Hope said alternate wording is being considered for younger grades, which may work, but even that change doesn’t guarantee our schools will receive these signs.
According to the board’s website, “64 per cent of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered] students and 61 per cent of students with LGBT parents report feeling unsafe at school.”
The expressed purpose of these signs is to turn that trend around.
Our school board has worked hard on equality training and messaging. Each high school has a Gay Straight Alliance and the work being done by staff and students to eliminate bullying and hate has been inspiring to watch.
Our society and our schools have come so far, it is strange be confronted with such sudden timidity.
These signs may seem like a token gesture to make our schools safer, but in reality they set the tone of the institution.
It is worth declaring proudly on a plaque for all to read.
The wording could change, but the message should not.
Positive Space is a campaign all schools should embrace.