The ongoing war on the LGBTQ community in this country continues as the latest incident takes us to an elementary school in Georgia. I wasn’t too shocked it was there, yes, homophobia happens everywhere, but I was expecting it to have taken place in either going to be here or Alabama, or Mississippi, maybe North Carolina. Texas is also on the shortlist.
In this most recent case where educators decided to show their homophobia, the school administration felt the need to single out and remove a student’s artwork. Was the artwork extremely violent?
Nope. The artwork in question was removed because of three tiny words: Gay is Ok. Seven letters. But those seven letters were enough for school officials at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary in Athens, Georgia to immediately take down the rainbow colored visual.
Wait, it gets better (blood-curling sarcasm). According to NBC-affiliate WXIA-TV,
“When a teacher questioned the decision, an administrator compared hanging the drawing to hanging the flag of Nazi Germany in the classroom,” according to a group of parents who witnessed the interaction.
In GA there’s controversy brewing cause a kid drew a picture with the words”Gay is OK” and those racist homophobic crackers got their panties in a bunch
I think we should make it trend to really piss them off
— kenyadad12 (@kenyadad12) January 26, 2022
The right-wing just loves to compare anything and everything to Nazi Germany, just ask Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Parents at the school sadly say this is not an isolated incident. Jemelloh Coes, a parent and professor at the University of Georgia is tired of dealing with the blatant homophobia at the school,
“There are ongoing complaints about this current administration has been discriminatory against women, being discriminatory against LGBTQ people, being discriminatory against English language learners or emerging bilinguals, emerging multilingual and Spanish speakers. So we have seen a pattern of inequity at our school and we have been asking for support at this point for years.”
YEARS! This has been going on for years. So why is it still happening? A teacher at the school who wished to remain anonymous released a statement:
“On behalf of a majority of the staff at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School, we are disheartened that these words and actions have happened in our school building during this time. This does not represent why we chose this profession, and it does not represent the feelings, beliefs, values, and attributes our amazing school family has within these four walls. We are disheartened that there has been no action taken by CCSD or our building administration to rectify the divide that has been caused. We will continue to seek resolution and promote a community of love, acceptance, and tolerance within our building and community.”
Parent Gee Campbell, a transmasculine non-binary parent with two children at the school did have many positive things to say about the school and the staff,
“I have two children who attend OAES. We’ve been part of this school community for four years. My experiences with the teachers in regards to my transitioning have always been positive and respectful. My daughter is in this classroom and my immediate thought was ‘What message does this give my daughter about her family?”
I say we make this beautiful drawing trending. #gayisOK
— Syl Be (@SylBe2) January 28, 2022
how does one compare love and acceptance to being a Nazi? #gayisok
— B.F.H.D. (@theBFHD) January 28, 2022
For their part, the Clark County School District released a statement on January 26th. See if you notice that the statement only addressed the comments made, not the removal of the artwork,
“Dear Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary Community, I write this letter to acknowledge a situation at Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary that has caused a great deal of anger and frustration in our community. It has been alleged that a piece of student artwork was compared to Nazi symbolism. We have investigated the situation and are working to address the issues with all parties involved. To be clear, we condemn this comparison and discrimination in all its forms. The Clarke County School District embraces diversity and inclusion for all students and staff. We stand with our LGBTQIA+ community and are dedicated to proving our commitment to diversity and inclusion. To that end, we will continue having sensitive and appropriate conversations with our school communities.”
Sensitive and appropriate conversations! For parents like Coes, it is time for actions not words. She states, “Nothing has been done and that is part of the problem and that is why we are finally at a place like this. Enough is enough.”
One more time for those in the back row, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”
This post is solely the opinion of this contributing writer and may not reflect the opinion of other writers, staff, or owners of Instinct Magazine.