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MIDDLE SCHOOLERS HARASS LGBTQ+ STUDENTS

Edward Estrada, Editor in Chief

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Despite policies to protect LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) students, SCPA middle schoolers have still experienced harassment, and administration has been vital in reassuring students that the school is a safe place for all.

8th grader Matthew Burnett has had firsthand experience with anti-LGBT rhetoric. “There’s a lot that comes from one specific student,” Burnett said. “He’s constantly making fun of people for being gay or trans and purposely misgendering people and like being extremely disrespectful.”

Even though students have negative experiences, SCPA has positive experiences as well. Burnett went on to say, “I feel like this campus is a lot more inclusive than others. Like there are some schools, where if you’re trans you can’t run for prom king or queen.”

Senior Ace Carpenter attended school in Pennsylvania until their junior year. Carpenter likes SCPA, saying, “It’s a lot more open-minded here, the acceptance of everyone is just outstanding. I can be open and myself with not only my classmates and my friends but with my teachers and my administration and that makes you feel like you’re actually welcomed. Rather than being in a place where you know people care for you only if they don’t know a part of you.”

Carpenter has advice for queer middle schoolers: “It’s okay to be who you are. Your identification is not a joke or a slur. It is valid and real and it’s okay if you change what you identify as over the years because sexuality and gender is a fluid thing and it’s allowed to be experimented on.”

8th grader Jamie Lynn Leano supports LGBTQ+ students, saying, “You’re always welcome here, and don’t feel like you’ll be alone or the beacon of hate to anyone because you’re a normal person, and just because you identify as something else does not mean that you’re not human.”

“The main thing is opening your mind to differences. That the world isn’t the same as it was before, that there’s more than two genders, that a guy can date a guy- a girl can date a girl.”

Mr. Charles De Freitas, who teaches both middle and high school math and science, says, “It’s a little more prevalent [in my middle schoolers] just based out of ignorance. They just don’t understand. It’s that fear of the unknown. They don’t know how to talk about it; they don’t know what to say, what questions are appropriate, what questions are inappropriate, so it’s a lot of just ignorance, and not in a bad way, just lack of knowledge.”

De Freitas went on to say, “High schoolers, with regards to homophobia and transphobia, are a little more educated. They are a little bit more mature.”

“I think our campus is safe for LGBT students because we have a very conscientious staff. The arts in general allow the expression of oneself and so that makes it more comfortable and more safe for LGBT students, and some ways that it could improve is a little more outreach and education of new students as they come into our school.”

Counselor Lindsay Kurtz says, “Well I know one thing that I talked about specifically is the name change forms. It’s something that needs to be done sooner than later, so all students are being called by the names that they are comfortable being called. So that’s one thing that will be changed very soon.

“Come talk to counselor, come talk to any adult on this campus. Questions, concerns, safety issues, confidence, comfort levels, whatever it is, come talk to somebody that can assist and we can help guide and direct to another student or whatever resources we need to help that student.”

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About the Writer
Edward Estrada, Editor in Chief
Edward Estrada is president of SCPA’s Gender Sexuality Alliance, Young Democrats, and Editor-in-Chief of The Production Newspaper.
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MIDDLE SCHOOLERS HARASS LGBTQ+ STUDENTS