State College Friends School
Last week, the nation’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, rescinded guidelines issued last year by the Obama administration requiring that schools allow transgender students to use restrooms matching their chosen gender rather than their birth gender. The Secretary of Education and present administration feel that this policy is better left to state and local control and that it was an “overreach” on the part of the federal government. I could not disagree more.
As an educator, I have had many opportunities to study and learn with my students. Often we notice similarities that occur between events and people and one cannot help drawing parallels between events. For example, anyone with a cursory knowledge of the events that led to America’s Civil War, knows that the concept of states’ rights was sung by Southern politicians to drown out a growing chorus of voices demanding an end to slavery. This same song had choruses added during the Civil Rights era of the 1960’s and, apparently, is still being sung today in regards to the LBGTQ community.
In addition, an associated tune of fear of others is often heard. One of the justifications that I have read from those who oppose self-identification of gender is that they fear some will take advantage of the situation so they can enter a bathroom or locker room and harass the occupants. Repealing a guideline will not make this scenario go away and has no basis in truth. Rescinding the guidelines only makes it easier to discriminate against a minority by subjecting them to additional barriers and ridicule.
Finally, I believe that repeal of these guidelines will be seen as license by others to continue their violence and discrimination against the LBGTQ community. This is a community that already suffers too frequently from the ignorance and fear of others. There is a need for all of us to work together to overcome petty fears, drive out hate, and seek understanding. We need to change the tune.
As always, State College Friends School, and all Friends schools, are committed to the Quaker testimonies of equality, peace, and integrity. Quaker schools strive to create inclusive, supportive, and respectful communities for all students, including each schools’ transgender and gender expansive/non-binary students. We welcome people of all faiths, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender identification.
You have “Friends” in the community.
Quakers in the Classroom - This past Friday our school was fortunate to welcome a member of Friends Meeting into every classroom. Our Friends helped to lead discussions and answer questions from our students regarding Quaker faith and practice. It was an informative day for everyone and we are grateful to all our Friends for their commitment to Quaker education.
Parent-Teacher Conference Signups - Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled for Thursday and Friday, March 2nd and 3rd. Please contact Jackie at the front desk to arrange for your conference and sign up for child care (if needed) during those days.
The Friends School Seed Sale! - The seed sale is ongoing. You can print forms using this link to the pdf: http:// www.fedcoseeds.com/forms/friendsOG.pdf. Please attach payment to the form. This year, a portion of the proceeds will be used to support the Slab Cabin Run Initiative to preserve the farmland across the road from our school.
Open Houses - The following Open Houses are scheduled for the spring:
First Wednesday of every month, 10:00 am - 1:00 pm: Walk Thru Wednesdays
Saturday, March 18th, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm: K-8 & Pre-K Open Houses / Winter Play Day
Saturday, April 29th, 9:30 – 11:30 am: Pre-K Open House
Fun Fair Planning Pep Rally - Please join us at school on Wednesday, March 1st (starting at 5:45 p.m.) for a Fun Fair planning meeting. Childcare and pizza will be provided - please call or email Jackie to sign up. Thanks! Science Fair - Our school’s annual Science Fair will be held on Monday, March 20th. The announcement letter, along with guidelines and a registration form, went home in your child’s Friday Folder (the packet may also be found on our Parent Portal). It is our hope to have many students participate. Please have your ideas in by today, February 27th.
Meeting For Worship and Right Sharing Lunch - On Sunday, March 26th, State College Friends Meeting will hold their Meeting for Worship at our school at 11:15 a.m. All are welcome. Directly following Meeting, we will host a Right Sharing Meal, with the help of the Middle School. This meal helps us consider right sharing of world resources and understand more deeply the disparity of resources around the world. Look for more details soon.
School Work Day - Please mark your calendars and save the date of Saturday, April 29, from 9:00 a.m. to noon for our all-school work day. With your help we aim to install several playground improvements, tend our gardens, and get our booths ready for the school’s annual Fun Fair. We can use lots of help to get several important jobs done at the school. Please let Tr. Dan know if you are willing to help. An organizational meeting will be held soon
Summer Camp - Registration for summer camp for school families opened on Wednesday, February 15th. This year, all registration materials are available online. So, visit our Summer Camp Page and register- some camps are nearing capacity. Please let Jackie know if you have any questions.
Teacher Luncheon - If you would like to contribute to March’s First Friday Luncheon for teachers and staff, please use the following SignUpGenius link: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20F094AAFAA23ABFF2-first1. Our teachers and staff thank you!