A Story Showing That Hillsborough County Is Changing
Written by: Sharon Herman
Recently, I was on my neighborhood community facebook page, which has close to 2000 members. A woman wanted to know if our high school was participating in the Day of Silence that took place on April 19th. For those unfamiliar, it’s a day where students choose to be quiet – for the day, a period, during lunch, to let others know that they are against bullying – particularly of LGBT students.
Someone responded to her post with an “I don’t know, but it’s a good idea” type of remark, only to find out that the original poster DIDN’T want the high school to participate, since it was “too political”. (When is bullying a political issue?).
I, of course, had to jump in and post that it was a great idea and I would investigate. This created quite a stir… the anti-gay lady blocked me on facebook… several people that I didn’t know liked my comment… and then, I got some great messages from teachers at the school.
One was from the GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) teacher (there are actually two teachers who run the group!) thanking me for inquiring and informing me that the event had been on the books and the students were already passing out fliers and stickers about the event.
The other email I received was from a different teacher, who is uninvolved with the GSA. She told me that Newsome High School is light years ahead of other schools. The kids openly date who they want, the GSA is doing well, and the staff is supportive of the kids, as are the parents.
I will not pretend the school is a utopia for gay students. The fact that even one member of our community doesn’t want to support an anti-bullying day is frightening. I was pleasantly surprised, however, by the support of the neighborhood parents, school staff and the students at the school. It makes me realize how far we’ve come – and I’m in eastern Hillsborough county.