Letter to the Editor: Diverse representation in society and in curriculum is important | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the Editor: Diverse representation in society and in curriculum is important

Shelley Flavell

As an educator for over 20 years, I have seen many changes in education. Some of these changes have been beneficial, some have been detrimental or inconsequential, and some have rightfully crushed the system to its core, like Brown v. Board of Education.

If anything is of prime importance in education, it is representation of diverse student populations, especially marginalized populations such as LGBTQ+ students. By representation in society, especially our school systems, LGBTQ+ students see themselves in curriculum and literature and know they belong, and are a valued part of our world. When all students are shown materials that feature different kinds of people, they are able to appreciate the commonalities we all share, and learn to respect the differences. No one has to embrace these differences. But, we need to have respect for one another’s differences. In a world that can be judgemental and unforgiving, respect is the least we can give another person. 

As a marginalized group, LGBTQ+ youth face distinct rejection and victimization that causes relentless stress and anxiety. These experiences become internalized, and it becomes no wonder that LGBTQ+ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide as their peers (Johns et al., 2019; Johns et al., 2020). Additionally, according to the Trevor Project, more than half of transgender and non-binary youth have considered attempting suicide in the past year. 

With Resolution #2022-23-8, Summit School District made representation of all learners a priority. Respect for one another is the core of this resolution, and when students know they are respected and valued in a place as important to them as school, they become the learners and people they are meant to be. 

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