Change starts with education

In light of CVHS’s anti-bullying campaign, there should be more LGBTQ education and representation in order to diminish bullying towards our peers.

Educating+our+peers+on+LGBTQ+events+and+issues+will+decrease+the+bullying+rates+towards+LGBTQ+students.+

Colette Reitenour

Educating our peers on LGBTQ events and issues will decrease the bullying rates towards LGBTQ students.

Claire Nguyen, News Editor

On February 19, Capo administration hosted “No Place for Hate,” an anti-bullying program that featured well-known figures like Tony Hawk, Dixie D’Amelio, David Dobrik, Magic Johnson and Anthony Anderson. There was already discourse over the lineup chosen for the assembly prior to the event, but what some haven’t considered is the lack of LGBTQ representation at this campaign. Compared to heterosexual students, the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey noted that LGB students have reported being bullied on school property 15.9% more and cyberbullied 13.8% more. The numbers from these events are not foreign. There are more instances of discrimination against LGBTQ youth at Capo than some may think. 

“On one occasion, my classmates were joking about taking each other out for a date, and one girl mentioned that she did not want to because a relationship between two girls made her uncomfortable,” an anonymous student recalled. “I understand that people may have different beliefs because of their upbringing, but that event made me wary over the fact that I couldn’t exactly be myself in front of everyone. I feel that everywhere I go, it’s really a gamble to see who truly accepts you and who may believe otherwise.”

Now, it’s understandable that the administration had no control over the featured people of the campaign, but putting a halt to discrimination against LGBTQ youth doesn’t have to be in the form of a budgeted assembly. Instead, the implementation of LGBTQ history and literature can lead to a more positive and accepting environment. 

In history classes, in particular, there has been a lack of diversity in the events that students learn. History lessons seem to erase the developments that have shaped the LGBTQ community today. Besides the Stonewall Riots, which are briefly mentioned in US history classes, there are little to no other events that are taught in our curriculum about LGBTQ rights. And more than ever, right now is the time to instruct these topics to the pupils at Capo. According to Gallup, the percentage of self-identified LGBTQ Americans who are Generation Z is 15.9%, a 6.8% jump from Millennials. If the generations being taught are changing, why do the textbooks remain static? One of CVHS’s guidance counselors Kelly Waugh voiced the impact and need to further develop the curriculum to be more inclusive. 

“We are leading many educational pieces and challenging staff to take a deeper look at what they can personally do to provide a better educational environment for all students,” Waugh affirmed. “This is a place for students, and I believe it is important to consistently seek the voice of students so we are able to better focus our efforts on effective change.”

If students were taught further than the Stonewall Riots, then there would be less intolerance towards LGBTQ students. Actions start with education, and without education, there would be no progress. If there is truly a strive to lessen the amount of hate between students, the curriculum must reflect that, which is perfectly worded by sophomore Samantha Thome. 

“By educating students on the historical struggles of the LGBTQ community and inviting them to understand and empathize with our experiences and those of our predecessors, potential bullies may turn into allies,” Thome declared. 

At the end of the day, it is not a debate over whether one student may experience more bullying than the other. It is the sheer fact that LGBTQ youth are being discriminated against, and there are solutions that CVHS can utilize: demonstration, representation and education. Demonstrate that there is an understanding of LGBTQ voices, include representation of LGBTQ figures and educate our peers and future students on LGBTQ history.