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Activist to high school administrators: Why you must ban those antigay badges

Activist to high school administrators: Why you must ban those antigay badges
Mr. Wood:

I am very concerned with the dangerous call to discriminate against LGBT students that is occurring on your campus by other students that is also being supported by the staff and the district administrators with misguided justification of First Amendment privilege.

As a gay bullied student, forced to leave school and home at 15 because adults did not respond for my protection, I raised myself.

Thank God the several suicide attempts I made because of the rejection and harm caused to me based on my sexual orientation and perceived gender identity expression, never resulted in my death, although I was in a COMA for 5 weeks, on a respirator, waking up paralyzed. With a full recovery, I walked again and decided to fight.

I’m going to have to insist that the “written harassment” come to an immediate end on your campus because of some students call for the elimination of LGBT students in your school with this badge they are wearing crossing out the Rainbow flag, causing immediate and perhaps far reaching trauma.

The Native Paiute of the Walker River Indian Reservation in Nevada named my Poo’e’ta’gwena during my Walk Across America (In Sky A Bright Flash of Colored Light, i.e. Rainbow). Maybe I should come and do a photographic presentation of my literally walking the Rainbow flag across America to raise cultural awareness and the struggle for family acceptance and legislative inclusion.

In 2010, innocent and bullied 13 year old Asher Brown was found dead with a gun-shot to the head, innocent and bullied 13 year old Seth Walsh was found by his loving mother, hanging from a Plum Tree in his backyard here in California and innocent and bullied Tyler Clement at 18, jumped from a bridge to end his life of embarrassment from his peers. The ridicule, pain and suffering from anti LGBT discrimination, harassment and bullying is real and life threatening and you need to in my view, take it much more seriously.

Because so many kids were committing suicide and going through what I went through at 15, in 2010, for those kids I walked the Rainbow flag across America to fight to end their suffering and called on Congress to file an LGBT civil rights act. They did. It’s now in Congress and supported by the White House, known as the Equality Act.

The Rainbow flag is a symbol of who we innately are as LGBT people. My friend Gilbert Baker created it in the 1970’s. I could ask him to come out and do a presentation. However I can help I am willing to put in the time and effort. . Like race, color, sex or national origin, the Rainbow is meant to affirm life and dignity, not strip us down and tear it away (which I call an act of violence) which some of your students are engaged in. This form of reparative therapy is outlawed in California and I encourage your students to stop what they are doing.

Your policy reads:

The Governing Board recognizes the harmful effects of bullying on student learning and school attendance and desires to provide safe school environments that protect students from physical and emotional harm. District employees shall establish student safety as a high priority and shall not tolerate bullying of any student.

No student or group of students shall, through physical, written, verbal, or other means, harass, sexually harass, threaten, intimidate, cyberbully, cause bodily injury to, or commit hate violence against any other student or school personnel.”

Mr. Wood, I hope you and your staff are aware that school administrators may be held liable if they are “deliberately indifferent” to anti-LGBTQ harassment or discrimination. Further, the costs of ignoring anti-LGBTQ harassment can be substantial, and plaintiffs in such litigation have been awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and the school district agreed to make extensive policy changes and provide training for all staff on how to avoid and appropriately respond to harassment, and to pay more than one million dollars to settle the suit.

Seth Walsh’s mother was awarded $750,000.00. This is a small sum for the life an an innocent kid who felt like he didn’t belong in the world anymore.

Seth Walsh Settlement here.

Wendy Walsh’s heartbreaking reading of Seth’s letter here:

To systematically redress the hostile climate for students who are, or are perceived to be, LGBTQ in the District’s schools and comply with applicable laws, the District is urged to take the following steps:

(1) Speak and distribute an email to all school staff, teachers and administrative support personnel. (2) Meet with the Gay Straight Alliance and discuss the horrific things that they are enduring daily. (3) Discipline all students immediately, involved in this incident and any others they bring to your attention. (4) Increase student involvement and education to prevent bullying and understand the percentage of diversity within their classroom and school.

If any of the following occur, a suit will promptly be sought:

1) A suicide attempt or suicide success due to bullying

2) Students continue to endure bullying and harassment, and negligence on your behalf and/or inadequate punishments given

3) A teacher or administrator failing to intervene or are expressing hate themselves

Thank you for your time,

Richard Noble, i.e Rainbow

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