August 18, 1998
Jim Testerman, co-chair National Education Association Gay and Lesbian Caucus
Today marks a very important date in the history of the Wayne-Westland School District. It is on this date, one year ago, that the Wayne-Westland School Board decided to eliminate protections for students that are discriminated against because they are perceived or known to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered.
Although this is very disconcerting news, we are encouraged by the actions of sincere members of the community. On August 17, 1998, many citizens wearing black arm bands, attended the Wayne-Westland school board meeting and requested that the board reverse this blatant act of discrimination and exclusion. In addition, the board was asked to demonstrate their commitment to all students. One suggestion is that they recognize National Coming Out Day.
If the board is truly committed to what they have been saying over the last year about their ability to value all students without this language, we will see a National Coming Out Day in the Wayne-Westland School District and we will see meaningful staff development that addresses the harassment and violence that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered students face in school every day. If they are not, their silence should signal an alarm that reaches the boundaries of the district, the state, and the nation.
On this day, the members of the National Education Association's Gay and Lesbian Caucus, wish the Wayne-Westland Board of Education and Administration wisdom and compassion and we wish for the students, a school environment free of name calling and isolation; a place where learning is not disrupted by intimidation or ignorance.
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Last updated 8/20/98 by Jean Richter, richter@eecs.Berkeley.EDU