To the Editor: The ACPS Non-Discrimination Policy Discussion Continues

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The ACPS Non-Discrimination Policy Discussion Continues

To answer Mr. Tim Wright’s question in his January Letter to the Editor, the other vote against the Albemarle County Public School’s policy change came from Mr. Jason Buyaki, representing the Rivanna District. I referred to Ms. Mouly because she represents the district my family has lived in for over 25 years.

I tried to converse with Ms. Mouly before the letter was printed. Unfortunately, due to personal responsibilities, she was unable to reply to me until after the Gazette’s December issue was published.

During our ensuing communications, she emphasized that she does indeed care for all students.  What she doesn’t care for is specific language for any class or group. She feels we should simply disallow bullying against anyone, period. Presumably, had she had the opportunity to vote on the original ACPS non-discrimination policy, she would have voted against it, in its entirety; she would not have wanted any policy or language protections for race, color, religion, and so on.

Sadly, without such explicit policies and language, too many members of our society have proven to be incapable of managing their bullying tendencies, and discriminatory practices, towards people who are different from them. It is a well-documented fact that students, and employees, who identify as, or are perceived to be LGBT, are not offered the same respect and opportunities as their straight, or cisgender counterparts, without these policies.

The ACPS policy language about sexual orientation and gender identity does include straight, and cisgender people; as do all the other categories listed, like religion, race, color, etc. It simply adds that people who self-identify as, or are perceived to be LGBT, are now protected as well.

Addressing Mr. Wright’s concerns about bathrooms and locker rooms, students typically go about their business in a discreet, respectful, quiet, and timely manner, with no exposure, or regard to “plumbing.”

As for someone who finds the “LGBT life choice offensive or immoral,” no one is denying his or her right to feel this way. They can refuse to “rebuke conscience and embrace the agenda”; as long as they treat everyone with the same respect that they would want from others. If they find this to be impossible, there is a link on the policy page of the ACPS website, through which a person can contact someone to discuss their concerns. This tells me that the schools want to make this, and any policy, as amenable to everybody as possible.

To have an opposing opinion is one thing. To behave in an overtly hostile, discriminatory, or disrespectful way towards someone different from us is quite another. Ridicule, discrimination, public humiliation, being fired, and worse, has been the accepted norm towards LGBT people for a very long time—in our schools, and in society in general. ACPS, for one, has said, “Enough!”

Linda McNeil
Crozet

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