In April of this year I wrote two back-to-back posts about CARY and their survey of Board of Education candidates centering around LGBTQIA+ issues in the Howard County Schools.
The overarching theme of both pieces is that these issues are life-or-death issues for our students. We have ample, varied, and consistently accurate research that shows that appropriate boundaries, supports, and interventions can be the difference in outright survival for our LGBTQIA+ students. And that should be the bare minimum, I should think, of what we require of ourselves.
That’s why I treat this issue as a core topic and not as some would prefer, as a so called “identity” issue or something relevant only to a fringe subset of a larger whole. That’s why it’s important that the school system continues to work on this and make progress even when schools are not holding classes in school buildings: because those students are still out there and are our responsibility. In some cases now they may be spending more time with families who are less accepting of who they are. Like all our students, they are having less contact with peers who may be their lifeline in a difficult world.
In November HCPSS debuted a page on their website devoted to LGBTQIA+ Youth.
It’s a start. It’s really, really good that it is there but, were I a current parent or student, it would not nearly be enough for me. Let’s all continue to apply positive pressure to develop this into a vital resource and not merely a placeholder of goodwill.
Do you have opinions you’d like to share on the state of LGBTQIA+ representation in HCPSS? The folks at OMO are holding a Community Forum on Thursday, December 17th from 7 - 8:30 pm and you are invited to be a part of it. If you’d like to chime in before the event itself, take this quick, anonymous survey:
OMO https://www.oaklandmillsonline.com/ (Originally “Oakland Mills Online”, but, in no way limited to the geographical area of Oakland Mills) decribes itself as:
OMO is a community organization founded to support the mental and emotional health of our neighbors, near and far, by providing a digital social environment where children, teens, and adults can meet and learn together in volunteer-led sessions on a variety of subjects.
I’ve attended one of their Community Forums via Zoom in the past and can vouch for how professional and respectful they are within this format. This is bound to be a good use of your time. You will learn something, you will feel listened to, and you will get some good new ideas as you go along.
What you can do:
Register to attend via Eventbrite for updates, reminders, and the Zoom link to join:
What else you can do: share the information within your own social media circles. You could even share this post.
A shoutout to OMO and CARY for working together on this and giving the larger community an opportunity to be a part of this important conversation.