December 11, 2018
Mrs. Perrie Johnson, Chair
Fluvanna County School Board &
Honorable Members of the School Board
14455 James Madison Highway
Palmyra, Virginia 22963
Dear Chairwoman Johnson:
We are writing to you in reference to the November 7, 2018 School Board Agenda item, “Approval of Alliance Club request to give out stickers to teachers displaying the FLUCO “F” in rainbow colors.” We understand that a motion on the issue died without action at that meeting, but will be addressed again at your December 12, 2018 meeting. We are an educational foundation serving all of Virginia.
As a matter of public policy, we believe that providing specialty group designations put the public, and legislative bodies, in the position of picking of sides. When one group is designated, other groups are “undesignated.” In other words, by allowing one particular group to denote themselves as a “safe space,” it implies that those without the designation are “unsafe spaces.” This puts individuals with conflicting religious views at conflict with the policy. Unless the school board is willing to let all groups create safe spaces for their issues, this policy does not create equality, but division.
Upon passage of this request, is the school board willing to designate the “F” logo with a cross to create a safe space for students to discuss their Christianity? Will descendants of Confederate soldiers have a safe place to discuss their heritage?
Students should be safe within the school to discuss ideas and points of view without being bullied. If there are problems within the school with teachers or students abusing individual children, then that should be addressed.
In Virginia, no school board has the burden to designate special identity groups. Furthermore, it’s beyond the purview of the government, and the schools as part of the government, to create an identity group based on sexual behavior. If one is created, there is no justification for others not to follow for other sexual behaviors and any other reason – creating more and more division by identity group.
We are requesting that the school board members vote “no” on any policy that creates division in the school system. Please vote no to designated symbols and safe spaces for identity groups. We are requesting that students, teachers, administrators and community members unify behind public policy that allows for open dialogue without divisive designations.
James A. Bowden, President