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April 28, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 17
 
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Federal Way School Board ammends antidiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation
Federal Way School Board ammends antidiscrimination policy to include sexual orientation
"Public schools are for everyone and I am asking that everyone have the right to feel safe and that they don't need to hide," said Lindsey Pothan, a Decatur High School student.

The Federal Way School Board voted Tuesday, April 25, to amend its anti-discrimination policy to include protections for LGBT students and teachers. The measure passed unanimously after vocal support from students, parents, teachers, clergy and community.

"All children are denied an opportunity to learn about the world they live in when we pretend that it is not as diverse as it really is" shared Rachel Smith-Mosel FWPS parent and teacher in a sister district. "Students are already living diversity in their neighborhoods and classrooms. On our block alone we have a single mom, inter-racial parents, grandparents raising their grandchildren, our two-mommy family, a blended family, and divorced parents still living together amicably to raise their kids. That's life. That's diversity. That's accurate. That's Federal Way. The Federal Way Public School's motto is 'ALL means ALL'. A vote to end discrimination makes good on that promise so that all teachers, students and families can return to school tomorrow secure in the knowledge that they will be treated fairly and with respect."

The policy change was, in part, a response to the community outcry when a student was arbitrarily denied participation in a Decatur High School evening production on its opening night after months of public practice because her performance ("Take Me or Leave Me" from the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Rent) was a song sung by two women.

Lindsey Pothan, the student performer cut mere hours before curtain call, is the daughter of a same-sex couple. "The generation that I am a part of is not bigoted. We don't need protection from ourselves - it is the adults whose biased views hurt us. If the antidiscrimination policies of this school district protected everyone, I would have been able to perform my harmless act. Hurtful adult bias should not be allowed to affect children in our own schools. Public schools are for everyone and I am asking that everyone have the right to feel safe and that they don't need to hide."

A room full of supporters turned out to the school board meeting, and speakers included Rev. Dr. James Kubal-Komoto, Minister, Saltwater Unitarian Universalist church, Kari Kesler of Federal Way Public Health, Robert Raketty Executive Director of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network), Lindsey Pothan Decatur High School Sophomore, Rachel Smith-Mosel FWPS parent and Safe School Coalition volunteer, students active in local GSA (Gay/Straight Alliances) and others community members.



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