Growing anti-LGBTQ+ bullying and discrimination in U.S. schools has more students considering a shift to virtual schooling.
To shed more light on what many LGBTQ+ students face, Lindsey Patrick-Wright shared distressing accounts of the bullying that her sixth-grade child, Pippy, suffered during a school board meeting.
Bullying and Hurtful Remarks
Pippy came out as a lesbian in fourth grade and later adopted they/them pronouns. Since then, she has faced pervasive bullying and discrimination from her peers.
Patrick-Wright said that some of Pippy’s peers wouldn’t mind hurling hurtful words at her, with others telling her she was a p*rv*rt and she would go to Hell.
Under the challenging circumstances, Pippy found solace in a few supportive teachers, a group of friends, and a counselor who made efforts to make them feel safe while at school.
Still, some students harassed them in hallways, school cafeterias, and on school buses, where teachers had no direct control over pupils’ behavior, Patrick-Wright pointed out.
Sharing classes with her bullies and others who never appreciated her new decision, Pippy often came home upset. She endured a tumultuous academic year that made the family consider a virtual schooling program in their hope to keep her away from her tormentors.
She Wanted To Protect Her Child
Patrick-Wright didn’t talk to the school about Pippy’s bullying because she feared it would lead to more scrutiny and harm. However, Pippy’s desire to switch from in-person learning due to bullying changed her approach to solving her child’s problems.
During the meeting, Patrick-Wright boldly shared her child’s experiences to shed light on the struggle LGBTQ+ kids go through with their peers. She also used the opportunity to advocate for other parents and students who could not voice their concerns.
Patrick-Wright has been an active participant in the Tennessee school board meetings. In the past, she voiced her concerns against banning books in public schools and stood against a group of people who undermined the public education system in Tennessee.
The Worsening Situation
With anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric seemingly gaining traction nationally, and as more states adopt legislation limiting the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals, many children affirm a nonbinary gender. They are going through challenges similar to Pippy’s.
Tennessee state lawmakers proposed at least 491 bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community. Twenty-five of those bills were either in advanced stages or passed into law.
Some legislation restricts pronoun usage in public schools, limits gender-affirming care, bans drag shows, and constrains the freedom of speech for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
According to a CNN report, at least 19 US states had passed laws banning or restricting gender-affirming care for children, with at least four states making it a felony to offer gender-affirmative care for minors.
Many school districts have also banned displaying the iconic Pride flag, which has always been a symbol of identity and support for the LGBTQ+ community.
Despite many bullying, discrimination, and verbal abuse cases, Patrick-Wright empathized with administrators and educators. She added that the elected leaders are responsible for children’s predicaments since they allowed such toxic rhetoric to persist in communities and homes.
- Is It Lawful For Religious Schools To Dismiss LGBTIQ+ Educators?
- Texas Teacher Fired for Reading Unapproved Version of Anne Frank’s Diary to Eighth-Grade Students
This article has been produced by TPR Teaching.
Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.