GERMANTOWN HILLS, Ill. (WEEK) — School administrators in Germantown Hills say students openly talking about their “sexual identities” has become a “significant disruption” to the learning environment.
In a letter to parents, Germantown Hills Middle School Principal Kate Williams said several students have openly discussed their sexual identities in classrooms, lunch, recess and the hallways.
The 5th-8th grade middle school principal said while students have the right to attend school free of harassment, intimidation or bullying regardless of sexual orientation or other factors, they do not have the right to “dictate when and where they will discuss their sexual orientation or identity.”
“Today, we had a student distribute stickers to other students that quickly became a disruption to the learning process,” wrote Williams in the undated letter. “Comments and questions regarding the stickers, which were rainbow hearts, were being made during class. Because of the disruptiveness of these stickers, students were told that they are not to be distributed at school.”
Williams said the decision had to the with the disruption the stickers caused, not their intended meaning.
Williams said the school will make arrangements for any student who wants to talk about their sexual orientation with a trusted adult during the school day, and said harassment or bullying should be reported. The principal also said the school is trying to tell its adolescent students when it is appropriate or inappropriate to talk about their sexual orientations.
When reached by phone, Germantown Hills School District 69 Superintendent Dan Mair said the district wants to protect the rights of its students first and foremost, while keeping them free of harassment and bullying.
A town hall meeting is set for Wednesday, Dec. 19 in the JDS Gymnasium at 6 p.m. to “discuss the situation that has developed in the upper grades.”
“There will be a town hall meeting to address it next week. I’m confident parents and faculty will be able to move past this,” said Mair.