Open letter to Pikes Peak region school districts

 

To all school boards and boards of education in the Pikes Peak region,

We have come together in support of the transgender students, staff, faculty, families, and residents of our region’s school districts, affirming their right to an environment that protects and uplifts them.

Elected officials have a responsibility to represent all of their constituents. We especially trust our school boards and boards of education to keep the best interests of students, their families, faculty, and staff at heart. This trust has been violated at least three times in recent weeks.  

  1. Colorado Springs School District 11 Director Al Loma has shared racist, homophobic, and transphobic content on his social media, and made racist and dehumanizing comments  (link includes direct quotes, click with caution) about a group of constituents at a Board meeting.
  2. D11 Board of Education Vice President Jason Jorgenson shared a transphobic meme (link includes transphobic content, click with caution) to his Facebook story. By sharing a meme that dehumanizes and others transgender people, Mr. Jorgenson has impacted the health and safety of the LGBTQIA2+ community.
  3. Monument Academy, a charter school in Lewis Palmer School District 38, has issued a proclamation (link includes common anti-trans talking points, click with caution) that it wishes to deny the lawful use of public accommodations to transgender and gender-diverse students. This proclamation expresses anti-trans sentiments that are morally and mentally damaging to our young people and their families. 

 

These actions are unacceptable.

This behavior of targeting trans community members – whether through sharing transphobic memes or proposing discriminatory policy – is based on misinformation and encourages the very violence and discrimination that leads to disproportionate rates of bullying, lack of access to health care, and negative mental health outcomes. 

We demand accountability.

  1. For months in school districts across the region, we have witnessed the amplification of racist, homophobic, and transphobic sentiments, and we demand better from the people the community has chosen to lead our schools.
  2. In D11, we demand an official reprimand of Vice President Jason Jorgenson and Director Al Loma, as well as mandatory equity and inclusion training for the entire Board. We also demand the immediate reinstatement of the equity leadership team.
  3. In D38, we demand the D38 Board of Education immediately strike down Monument Academy’s proclamation, and that mandatory equity and inclusion training be provided to the board of Monument Academy. 

 

We applaud the board members, educators and administrators who stand up for their students, even against a surge of anti-LGBTQIA2+ sentiments.

The students in your districts see you, hear you, and are impacted by your actions. Your staff and faculty depend on you to guide your districts toward greater access, equity, and power.

Show them you are committed to the safety, education, and inclusion of LGBTQIA2+ students, staff, faculty, and families.

In solidarity,
Inside Out Youth Services, the Pikes Peak Safe at Schools Coalition, and the undersigned businesses, organizations, parents, students, educators, and community members of the Pikes Peak region 

Sign the open letter here