Mum reads list of cruel homophobic insults her sixth-grade child has faced to school board
School leaders in Tennessee have been read a list of insults aimed at a gay sixth-grade child by classmates.
Lindsey Patrick-Wright, whose child, Pippy, attended West Wilson Middle School, in Mount Juliet, recited the slurs during the public comment section of the most recent Wilson County School Board meeting.
The horrific abuse included “die… you should kill yourself… my parents say you’re a pervert” and “you’re going to hell”.
Patrick-Wright said that during the past school year, Pippy, who came out as lesbian in fourth grade and later decided to use they/them pronouns, came home from school upset “at least 30 per cent of the days, if not 50”.
Her child’s experience comes as anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments sweep the US, with states across the nation tabling bills that seek to roll back LGBTQ+ rights for both youths and adults.
Proposed, and, in many cases, enacted legislation includes bans on gender-affirming care, pupils not being allowed to use their chosen pronouns in schools, bans and restrictions on drag shows and a curtailment of freedom of speech.
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As it stands, 491 bills that negatively target the LGBTQ+ community have been put to legislatures, with 25 bills either advancing or passed in Tennessee.
Despite the abuse from fellow pupils, Pippy has a group of close and “protective” friends and two teachers and a counsellor at the school tried to be supportive and create “a safe space”, the mother added.
Patrick-Wright told The Daily Beast that most of the abuse took place in areas where teachers had less control over pupils, including on the bus, in hallways and the cafeteria.
“Those are three areas where it is very difficult for the staff and the teachers to moderate behaviour,” she said. “I think the teachers are doing the best job that they can. And I don’t blame the administrators, I blame the elected officials who are allowing this rhetoric to be repeated in homes.”
Patrick-Wright is no stranger to speaking at Tennessee school board meetings, having opposed book-bans and the “epidemic of Moms for Liberty and what they’re doing to dismantle the public education system”.
During this time, she refrained from discussing her child’s experiences to avoid putting them “in the spotlight”.
But in recent days, Pippy announced that they did not wish to be at school in person next year and plan to attend a virtual school so they can avoid the bullying.
“They’re excited about it, and we’ve got plenty of activities to keep them social,” Patrick-Wright said.
This decision meant Pippy’s mother felt able to speak her mind freely about her child’s experiences without fear of repercussions and further abuse.
“It allows me to stand up and speak for the parents who aren’t ready to, and for the kids who can’t,” she said.
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