June 15, 2024

Suburban Philadelphia school district accused of stigmatizing LGBTQ students : NPR

5 min read


A suburban Philadelphia college district has issued regulations about what books can go in its libraries and what posters can be put on classroom partitions. Critics say the rules stigmatize LGBTQ students.


A person of the greatest school districts in Pennsylvania has adopted procedures that restrict library guides and what academics can screen in their school rooms. The U.S. Division of Training is investigating irrespective of whether the suburban Philadelphia district is producing a hostile natural environment for LGBTQ pupils. From member station WHYY, Emily Rizzo reports.

EMILY RIZZO, BYLINE: In excess of the previous six months, the Central Bucks University District has handed two controversial insurance policies – a person that prohibits publications with sexualized written content and a person that censors classroom decorations and discussions that have to do with advocacy.


DEB CANNON: The elementary mission of universities is to market pupil achievement.

RIZZO: Board member Deb Cannon reported at the most latest board meeting that the advocacy plan assures components are proper for the district’s 17,000 pupils.


CANNON: Education should really model an crucial element – neutrality as an academic advantage.

RIZZO: The procedures are about safeguarding little ones from indoctrination, states dad or mum Vonna DeArmond, who spoke at another board conference.


VONNA DEARMOND: Can you be sure and can you warranty that these publications and all those passages and individuals pics, those people graphic images, are not remaining utilized to groom?

RIZZO: To build these procedures, the university board, which declined interview requests, worked with the conservative, evangelical Independence Regulation Heart, linked with the Loved ones Investigation Council. That corporation is an extremist detest team, in accordance to Andrew Seidel of Us residents United for Separation of Church and Condition. He suggests it targets LGBTQ men and women and wrongly characterizes them as pedophiles.

ANDREW SEIDEL: It is heading to be imposing this anti-LGBTQ, Christian nationalist ideology on general public college small children, and that is a enormous difficulty.

ANUSHA VISWANATHAN: This has in no way been about neutrality. It has normally been about extremism.

RIZZO: Bucks County guardian Anusha Viswanathan.

VISWANATHAN: That was normally a sham, but it is really been confirmed beyond a doubt.

RIZZO: Moms and dads like Viswanathan dread the insurance policies chill classroom discussions. Opponents like middle-schooler Mackenzie Junkin say the two guidelines concentrate on LGBTQ elements, like satisfaction flags and textbooks with queer figures.

MACKENZIE JUNKIN: It’s just – it really is frightening to believe that the environment does not want you to be listed here for what ever designed-up or insignificant cause.

RIZZO: WHYY has realized that four publications with LGBTQ storylines are now getting reviewed for probable removing. Policies like these are getting to be additional prevalent in university districts around the state, despite the fact that quite a few have been overturned by courts. Last week, a number of days prior to Holocaust Remembrance Working day, a Central Bucks substantial university principal advised librarian Matt Pecic he experienced to take away posters that quoted creator and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel for the reason that they violated the district’s advocacy plan.

MATT PECIC: Obtaining to choose it down was a pretty powerless feeling.

RIZZO: The Wiesel estimate browse, in portion, we will have to usually take sides. Neutrality aids the oppressor, in no way the victim.

PECIC: ‘Cause I felt like I was not just allowing down students but my daughter. I’m like, you know, I want her to be very pleased of her father.

RIZZO: After a social media uproar, the principal reversed his selection, and Pecic papered the library windows and doorways with copies of the Wiesel quote. Still, the Central Bucks School District continues to defend its neutrality and advocacy policies. For NPR News, I am Emily Rizzo in Philadelphia.


Copyright © 2023 NPR. All legal rights reserved. Visit our web-site terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for more details.

NPR transcripts are created on a hurry deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may perhaps not be in its last type and may be current or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability could vary. The authoritative document of NPR’s programming is the audio report.


Resource website link The Neshaminy School District in suburban Philadelphia is facing criticism after a student and former teacher have alleged that school district officials have discriminated against and stigmatized LGBTQ students.

The student, Julianna Quinley, alleges that when she asked for permission for her and her girlfriend to attend the school’s winter dance together, she was met with refusal and told by the principal that if she did attend with her girlfriend it would be used against her in possible future job applications.

In addition to Quinley’s allegation of discrimination, former teacher Sara Hannum claims that the district has attempted to restrict the topics of discussion in her class that were deemed to be related to LGBTQ issues, as well as issues of racial diversity. She was instructed to remove books related to LGBTQ issues, expunged certain words such as “gay” and “bisexual” from lesson plans and resources, and had even been told to use the term “opposite sex” instead of “different sex.”

Both Quinley and Hannum have filed complaints with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. The Neshaminy School District denies the allegations of discrimination and has filed official responses to both complaints. In their response to Quinley’s complaint, the district argued that “it is necessary for schools to take a neutral stance on issues that may be controversial, especially those that may be seen as morally opposed by a majority of the school’s population.”

The Neshaminy School District has since issued a statement condemning their past practices of discrimination and has made clear that the district’s approach “will be based on respect for the dignity of all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other factor.”

The ongoing controversy regarding the Neshaminy School District’s treatment of LGBTQ students reflects a larger issue at hand in educational institutions throughout the nation. It is vital that students of all identities and backgrounds feel welcomed and accepted in their school environments, not discriminated against. The Neshaminy School District’s actions should serve as a reminder that discrimination against any marginalized group of people in these settings is simply unacceptable.