News WLAIC

Equity for LGBTQ students demanded at WLWV School Board meeting

West Linn High School (WLHS) students spoke at the December 2nd WLWV School Board meeting, urging the district to interrupt the current culture of LGBTQ harassment and provide an equitable educational experience for all students regardless of gender orientation. Multiple parents also spoke supporting the students, including State Representative Rachel Prusak.     

The voices of students at the meeting were an active follow up to a walkout rally held on Friday, November 8th at WLHS. The walkout was organized by the student-led Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) to support students and emphasize the need for a safe, harassment-free school. The strike followed a series of recent incidents involving harassment of LGBTQ students and the vandalism of their personal property. 

The rally was well attended by students and supported by adults from the community who stood across the street from the school’s front entrance in solidarity with the walkout. The West Linn Alliance was part of that community support group.

The rally was confronted by a group of counter-protesters who focused on chants insulting the walkout attendees and disrupting the rally.

Parents and students at the board meeting spoke on a common set of observations and requests: 

Despite the security provisions at the walkout, counter-protesters were allowed to gather immediately behind the rally crowd, eliminating any safety space between the two groups.

The administration’s characterization of the counter-protesters as “observers” did not accurately reflect the verbal harassment, threatening behavior, and disruption they created.

There is a long culture at WLHS of LGBTQ harassment, and the administration has not effectively interrupted this discrimination. There should be no tolerance for these behaviors at school.

DEI advisors/counselors are needed at the WLWV schools, so students have access to professional support for coping with and interrupting harassment and discrimination. 

The two gender-neutral bathrooms in WLHS are locked the majority of the time and need to be accessible.

LGBTQ students have a right to an educational environment that is safe and free from harassment.    

After the student comments, the Board discussed issuing a public letter in support of inclusive, harassment-free schools, but could not reach an agreement at this meeting on how to proceed.

Sources

West Linn High School Students Walk Out To Support LGBTQ Community – https://www.opb.org/news/article/west-linn-high-school-walk-out-lgbtq-community-support/

Students walk out of West Linn High School, say culture is not safe for LGBTQ+ students – https://katu.com/news/local/students-walk-out-of-west-linn-high-school-say-culture-is-not-safe-for-lgbtq-students

Students protest Chick-Fil-A truck at football games https://pamplinmedia.com/wlt/95-news/443276-357640-students-protest-chick-fil-a-truck-at-football-games

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