I am proud of where I came from. Loudoun County always seemed like such a diverse community where I lived among open minded creative people with a passion to learn. Of course I was involved in the arts, which has a lot to do with the types of people that I spent my childhood with. I know that there are always going to be people that aren’t as open minded and accepting as I or the people I grew up with, however I did not expect those people to react as strongly as they did at a school board meeting dedicated to adding LGBTQ protection to the non-discrimination policy for Loudoun County Public Schools. In fact, there was such a disagreement against this, that the school board declined to add LGBT protection and instead voted to add a paragraph to the policy that states that the school system hires employees based on merit and excellence and that they value diversity in the workplace. Lauren Kuzma, a teacher a Briar Woods High School went to every school board meeting in support of adding the specific protection to the LCPS policy. “This sends a message to our community that most members of our school board do not care to protect our teachers, staff and students. They don’t have the courage to stand up and say that LGBTQ rights are civil and human rights.”
“I think the meeting and the new policy are both very vague and don’t make me feel like the school board cares about me or my community”, says Deirdre Price, a Junior at Rock Ridge High School.
While it may not seem like much of a big deal to some, I feel that at the least, the school board meetings showed how much of a problem LGBTQ acceptance is in parts of the community. These policies may not seem like much on paper, but they can hold schools to standards and teachers won’t be fired for their sexuality without schools being held accountable. “It's 2017. Equality should be expected, NOT asked for or denied and who someone is attracted to should not affect their ability to receive a job in our school systems” says Devi Ruia, a Senior at Briar Woods High School.
It may just be the millennial in me, but I can’t understand why many people would be against a policy built in place to protect and respect people in the schooling system. Why is it hard to simply say that the community's sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, and friends have support from their community, especially when many people in the world do not support them. The policy would not affect the people against it or anyone else in anyway but good; just like the policies put in place to not discriminate against anyone based on their gender or race.
At the end of the day a policy doesn’t fix the issue to respect people. In fact, it should be common sense. “Treating others with respect should not have to be outlined in a statement by the school board, you should just do it”, says Price.