Ohio Virtual Academy/ Gay-Straight Alliance
From: Ohio Virtual Academy High School
Gay Straight Alliance
1655 Holland Road
Maumee, Ohio 43537
October 22, 2012
To: East Aurora School District 131
417 Fifth Street
Aurora, Illinois 60505
ATTN: Mary Anne Turza
Dear East Aurora School District 131:
The actions in which your Board of Education has engaged in are actions of momentous bigotry that rang the bell of injustice so loudly that the rings have spread across this great nation and into the ears of your school districts allies and Trans/Gender Non-Conforming population. These children are children of your district, are residents of your great state, and are residents of this great nation and for that they deserve assurance to the right to attend school and feel safe while doing so.
Your Board of Education’s actions have showed where your allegiance resides and it is not with the students who attend your schools. All students regardless of who they are, who they love, and who they identify with are supposed to have access to a education that is free and appropriate that resides within a environment that is least restrictive as stated in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. When students walk, into your schools they should not have to fear for their safety or mental wellbeing but your actions have made such possible and for that, your actions are actions of depravity.
Your actions have put your board and the school district’s schools in a position where their actions may come under severe limitation when addressing the injustices that take place within your schools. Your actions have begun a continuation of a legacy of failing students and that legacy is one that will commit students to a perpetual reality of suffering and hopelessness during the best and most youthful years of their lives. Your actions show unwarranted disregard for the safety of your students who have decided to share their hidden identities with the people who they attend school with because those who wish to attack them now know that there is no severe administrative reprimand or reckoning for their actions. This act of injustice is an act that will, if not already committed, infringe upon your districts Trans/Gender-Non Conforming student populations’ right to freedom of speech that is administered under the First Amendment of the Constitution. With that, it is imperative that you know that once the first student has that right trampled upon or is insulted/assaulted because of who they are there will be no amount of recourse available to soothe that pain and remove those memories.
You have an endowed obligation to your student population regardless sexual orientation, perceived sexual identity, or the absence of, and for your board to turn your backs on our nations most vulnerable youth is a true testament to the amount of ignorance that exists within these days. Your obligation is to these students, to your constituents, to your state, this nation’s future and when you start denying students the rights to attend safe schools you endanger that obligation. Your obligation does not lie with the Illinois Family Institute or any other outside organization that mongers unwarranted fear and misunderstanding in the name of religion or partisan belief. It is imperative that you restore these rights to these students so they can feel safe at school because that is the only way they will obtain an equitable education.
We, the Gay-Straight Alliance at OHVA, beg of you to stay true to the promise of bettering the lives of the children that reside within your district and their children that will come in the future. We beg of you to ring the bell of hope and sanity for these students at a time when they have few advocates and are most vulnerable in a world that levels a sense of perpetual hate against them. These children, these students, are people first, Americans second, and members of their sexual identity third and you must not allow those identities to come under attack.
With Grave Passion,
Ohio Virtual Academy/ Gay-Straight Alliance
Jabreel Chisley- Member of GSA at OHVA and the Institute for Democratic Education in America
Gabrielle Cremeans – Member of GSA at OHVA
Alyson Kate Lanning- Member, Leader of GSA at OHVA
Kat Sparrow- Member of GSA at OHVA
CC: Tiffany Townsend