Photo Credits: Olivia Schlinkman
On Nov. 14, an article about the Central Bucks School District’s decisions about what can and cannot be taught was posted on The Beacon.
First, book banning stormed across the states earlier this year, and finally made its way to Pennsylvania schools. But, on top of that, certain teachings are now being banned from schools, which stems from this action. For Central Bucks, the teachings of sexual and gender identity, religious issues and political and sociopolitical issues are now being banned — called Policy 321. These teachings are deemed as “inappropriate” if they are not in correlation to what is being taught, and even that is a stretch. By saying that these teachings are coercing students makes it seem as though these teachers are predators, which they are not. This type of language is dangerous, because it can put teachers at risk of being fired if they try to mention what their personal beliefs are, especially when it comes to their sexual and gender identity.
In The Beacon’s article, it highlights how some parents believe that teachers are trying to coerce their students and how they are “groomers,” and this is just because of some book teachings. Unfortunately, this small, homophobic and transphobic crowd makes everyone suffer. This is the same crowd that is for conversion therapy, which is harmful for those in the LGBTQIA+ community as it seeks to “fix” and “cure” them. In a classroom setting, this policy fails to be a safe space for students and staff and opens the door for hate and potential harm. High schoolers, especially juniors and seniors, should know better than to harass others based on their sexual orientation and other beliefs. With the passing of this policy, it would allow for gender and sexuality based bullying and harassment to increase even more than it is.
As someone who went to a charter school in Philadelphia, and lived in Montgomery County for a while, I kind of know what it is like to not have a safe space in school. Although my high school did have a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance), it did not stop homophobic and transphobic students from voicing their thoughts and feelings on gay people. Being in a setting like Buck County’s schools, I could not imagine how that is safe for anyone. We already have to deal with so many horrific things in schools, and taking away the ability to express ourselves is almost like taking away our freedom. Our world keeps moving backward, and sad to say, gay and queer students may eventually become targeted and unwelcome across the States.
Although Bucks County is not exactly close to our university, there are still plenty of students who are from there. With this policy that will most likely go into effect, it can open up the doors for other schools across Pennsylvania, and question their policies on what should and should not be taught. Pennsylvania may seem like a safe space for queer folks, but when it comes down to schooling, it is a completely different ball game. What we can do, especially those who are soon-to-be Education majors, is help to fix this broken system.
Breaking the cycle is ideal, but sometimes the cycle needs fixing. We should not be letting homophobic and transphobic people run schools. If we want to protect our future generations, then we should at least try to help at the base-line of education.
Kayla Redfern is a third year English major with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. KR983550@wcupa.edu
For more information on the Buck’s County School District, follow this link:
Cyril Mychalejko, The Beacon https://buckscountybeacon.com/2022/11/central-bucks-school-district-looks-to-muzzle-teachers-in-the-classroom/