Lack of school action continues to lead LGBTQ+ students to harm

This story was originally published in the first edition of The Lion’s Tale (October 7th, 2021).

Suicide rates among LGBTQ+ students are rising. A variety of unfortunate circumstances that are related to our societal structure are at fault, school being a definite reason. The measures that school staff are willing to take determine whether or not a student may consider taking their own life, especially on top of all the mental health struggles queer people already experience on a regular basis.

One particular incident involved student Amelia Rodriguez – who identifies as non-binary and pansexual. They remained seated during the daily pledge of allegiance, which prompted a student to take a photo of them and post it on Snapchat with various transphobic remarks captioning it.

“The dean seemed pretty understanding when I first told him and said he would talk to the kid immediately,but he didn’t so the post stayed up for 24 hours,” they said. “Multiple people saw me and recognized me from the post. I got laughed at all day.”

The student who took the photo was reportedly spoken to, but it’s unknown if he received any legitimate consequences for his wrongdoings. Instances like these encourage more people to harass queer students with the knowledge that they won’t get in
any serious trouble for doing so.

“I wish school could just be a safe environment for people like me,” Rodriguez said. “It isn’t fair that LGBT students have to worry about safety to the extent that we do, and cishet people don’t at all. Not in the same ways.”

If more schools simply took action in situations like these, as they would with any other incident, it would take an unimaginable amount of stress off the shoulders of queer youth. With coming out, transitioning, dealing with unsupportive environments and an abundance of other concerns, students do not need – nor do they deserve – the extra stress of staff not taking them and their demands as seriously as they do with other student matters.