High marks to the Orchard Park students who have formed a nonprofit group that promotes diverse, inclusive and equitable education for all students.
But failing grades to the so-called adults who have acted outrageously in public and offered ridicule to those same students for speaking out in favor of democracy and inclusion.
As reported in The News, some “adults” who were critical of the students rolled their eyes, snickered and took pictures of students as they spoke at the January School Board meeting. If that is not enough, several people alleged that they witnessed two School Board candidates laughing at the students. Those candidates vehemently denied the accusation.
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What of the adults who were snickering and snapping photos of the students as they spoke? Each one should reveal themselves and make a public apology.
Based on how low these immature adults have stooped, one cannot expect much.
Not unlike other school districts and communities across the country, there is a movement to remove books from school and public libraries. In December, the School Board adopted a gender identity policy. The act resulted in speeches for and against the policy during the public comment period.
The issue found its way into the race for three board seats. It also prompted some students to form Students Protecting Education, a nonprofit group that promotes diverse, inclusive and equitable education for all students.
These students went beyond the classroom in embracing democracy. They formed a nonprofit to attend board meetings and speak out against book banning “and to speak in support of the gender policy that affirms LGBTQ peers and gives them a safe space and environment.” Sophomore Luke Lippitt founded the group with Jillian Yarnes.
Their admirable effort has expanded. Students Protecting Education has a chapter in Charleston, S.C. The group has also accomplished something that is unusual for a student group in endorsing candidates in the election.
Instead of receiving resounding applause, the group has been targeted by negative comments on its Facebook page. One person wrote the students “are not making our community proud. They are an embarrassment.”
It’s unfortunate but predictable in this social media age when cowards can attack and spread venom without much effort. That’s where the embarrassment lies.
These young people deserve to hold their heads high, their parents should also stand for a round of applause because they obviously raised their children to respect everyone, equally and without equivocation.
It’s worth repeating: The students who formed Students Protecting Education are brave, intelligent and mature. They should not be deterred by those emotionally stunted critics who should know better but choose to act shamefully.
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