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LGBTQ+ Students Speak Out After School Board Returned a Grant They Won for Their School 

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A Lynchburg City School Board meeting, held in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, ended on an emotional note on November 14. It witnessed teens shedding tears and trembling as they addressed a group of adults who ran a public meeting. 

The embittered E.C. Glass High School students expressed their disappointment at the School Board’s decision to reject a $10,000 nonprofit grant they had worked hard for. They felt that that was an unfair move, considering that the grant was for a noble cause and the effort they put in. 

In the words of 17-year-old junior Brittany Harris, “It definitely broke our spirits.” Another student, mustering the courage to speak to the school board, said she was “honestly terrified.”

The teens who belonged to the Gender Alliance and Sexuality Alliance Club needed the grant to create a safe space for struggling members of the LGBTQ community. According to them, the space would have been comfortable enough for people dealing with panic attacks, bullying, etc. It would be a place for those who needed to ” just breathe for a second.” 

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These “chill” or “calm down” rooms are not new and are increasingly becoming the norm in many American schools. Sadly, the adults didn’t buy the idea and kicked vehemently against it.

“Let me be clear. The LGBTQ+ agenda in schools is about indoctrination and grooming our children into an evil and wicked lifestyle,” Greg Barry, who had a ward in the school, said. 

According to Barry’s views, supporters, It Gets Better Project, the organization sponsoring the grant, had ulterior motives for their benevolence. They alleged that their research revealed schemes to indoctrinate children into the “lifestyle” through videos. 

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Letitia Lowery, one of the school board members, said, “There are short videos on the lifestyle that the kids would have to watch.” However, a surface investigation into the group’s activities shows that the observation is incorrect. 

While it’s true that the organization makes thousands of videos available, no one is mandated to watch them. Again, the videos aim to assure bullied and marginalized viewers that things will get better and that they’re not alone.

Despite the strong opposition against the grant, two school board members supported the idea. One of them, Sharon Carter, said, “I didn’t know when this started that it’s going to be indoctrination and talk about sexuality.” She wondered whether every other grant was as thoroughly scrutinized as this one.

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“We as a board are making it more controversial than it should be. If we vote no on this, we send the message that we don’t trust the students,” said Anthony Andrews, the other member supporting the grant. He praised the students for their courage, initiative, and admirable leadership skills. Nevertheless, the opposition didn’t move the board as they won the vote to return the $10,000 by a landslide.

Although the teens were disappointed with the board’s decision, they promised to protest the verdict at the next meeting. “It gets better, but when will it get better for us, specifically?” Brittney, who tried to be optimistic, asked.

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