School is supposed to be safe

At the last Board meeting, a student was prevented from using his voice due to the Board majority and more new rules on public comment. His prepared speech is quite powerful and we believe that his voice should be heard. We won’t allow this voice to be silenced and ask that you share this. 

 

Thanks, Tim, for being brave! We Support Jeffco Kids!

 

Hello, my name is Tim Palese.  In the past, I have had the honor of addressing this board as a member of JeffCo Students for Change, something that I am grateful to do and that will continue to do in the future.  However, tonight I will address the board on a much more personal level, as Tim Palese, a high school student saddened by the discriminating marks recently posted. Today, many of us gathered together outside of the building in silence.  That silence was to portray the silence of millions of LGBTQ students and staff felt throughout the country.  That silence was supposed to be heard on April 17th.

April 17th was the day of silence, a day to pay tribute to all the people that feel the same silence, I once did, who have been so scared that they had to put on a face and hide the waterfall of tears coming down because they have to fight back the very person that they are, because they feel as though they are wrong.  And for the countless others who still feel the grip of that oppressive silence that binds them down in ways no one can see, keeping quiet and forbidding their existence, forcing them into a life of lying to themselves every day when they wake up, and of the fear they see when they look at their own reflection.  Day of silence is for them, to show that as long as we all live in silence we are not alone.

My voice is just one of the many voices, standing up for those who are silenced.  Sadly, this voice aligns with most of the rest of the district and the disgruntled public, students, and teachers alike who are all crying out to be heard and not ignored for once.  A voice crying out to tell you that school is not a place for discrimination. That our schools are not a place for us to be bullied by you.  It has been ruled time and time again by court after court after court, that discrimination of any kind has NO place in public schools.

I brought with me tonight a copy of the United States Department of Education Notice of Non-Discrimination, a copy of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as well as a copy of the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. This school district its self has a non-discrimination clause written into the contracts that other JeffCo employees must sign to work in this district.  If they were to behave this board has, then by all rights of their contract they should and hopefully will be reprimanded.  I strongly encourage the board of education to read over these papers that I have brought with me as well as review their own policies on discrimination, to remind themselves what the education system of this nation, this state, and this district, actually stand for, and in the future strive to uphold those standards.  If it had been only one event of disrespect and discrimination, then perhaps the students may be less hurt, but it’s not.  This school board has an unfortunate and long running history of discrimination and committing actions that do not represent the will of the public at large, while also blatently disregarding every thing that this district once stood for and the respect that they owe to their students running as far back as before their elections as pointed out by this districts PTA,who has once again found them selves forced to cry out for the students that this district clearly does not respect.

On the morning of Wednesday, April 15th the solidarity of that day was desecrated when board of education member Julie Williams posted to her Facebook page an article by a known HATE GROUP, instructing everyone not to go to school, something she was supposedly against back in September, once again breaking the fragile trust between this board of education and its increasingly alienated student body.  But this time not only did she betray the trust of the students she’s supposed to have the best interest for, this time she directly violated our safety, including my personal safety.

Mrs. Williams, school is supposed to be a safe place. For someone like me and hundreds of others across the district, school is the only place where we can actually feel safe.  School is not supposed to be the place where you are scared to be who you are, it is not the place where you feel like you have to put on a mask, it is not a place where children feel isolated alone betrayed, frightened, and oppressed.  It is not a place where CHILDREN feel bullied by the adults, the ONLY people they can look up to.  Sadly a lot of children may not ever feel human in their own skin in their homes and with their families.  But School.  School is supposed to be safe.