The pride flag indicates a safe space, not a political symbol; carroll county school board student member makes us proud

For anti-abortion believers, suicide prevention should be important. According to recent studies, children and adolescents who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community are at a higher risk of suicide. The Carroll County School Board of Education’s recent decision to ban pride flags in our schools is troubling because it eliminates a simple and effective symbol of support for LGBTQ+ students and their families – one that could save a life.

As a local Christian pastor in a same-sex marriage and parent of children at CCPS, I care deeply about the health, well-being and education of our young people. A teacher who chooses to display a pride flag does nothing to change the minds of those who are uncomfortable with the LGBTQ+ community. It does not indoctrinate students whose families teach them to, at best, avoid LGBTQ+ peers. It doesn’t make straight kids gay. What it does do, however, is show students struggling with their sexuality or gender expression that, at a minimum, their teacher is a safe person they can talk to if they start to really struggle. It shows that we appreciate the precious lives of all of God’s beloved children.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus speaks of a traveler beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. Well-regarded members of society walk beside the dying traveler, but the Samaritan offers help to his Jewish neighbor. At that time, the Samaritans and the Jews hated each other, yet the Samaritan does not hesitate when he sees someone in trouble. He doesn’t ask what religion he belongs to, what political party he belongs to, or what his sexuality or gender identity is; he sees a human being in pain and offers him help. The Samaritan values ​​life and loves his neighbor.

The Pride Flag does not represent any political party or religious group. This does not diminish our common American identity. It does not symbolize a hate group. Instead, it presents itself as an image of refuge for students unable to find a safe space elsewhere, including at home or in their churches. This lets LGBTQ+ children know that they are seen as lovable human beings, rather than the despised “other.” It offers them the assurance that they are not alone. If we really care about the lives of our young people, allowing the option to display pride flags, allows teachers to ‘say gay’ safely and diplomatically and most importantly, saves lives.

Reverend Jessica Ashcroft-Townsley, Hampstead

Ashcroft-Townsley is the pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Manchester

I am writing to commend Ms. Devanshi Mistry, Student Representative for the Carroll County School Board, for her bravery, dedication and steadfastness in justice. Ms. Mistry has been in the role for two years and has been extremely impressive in this role. She is always prepared, speaks thoughtfully, and behaves professionally, even when treated as inferior.

Although she does not have the right to vote, Ms. Mistry frequently voices support or dissent for council decisions, sending a powerful message to students and the broader community she represents.

Recently, I was present during the discussion surrounding the review of a new “flag policy” at the SCPC. After a generous donation of LGBTQIA+ rainbow pride flags was made to all schools in the county, some expressed concern that it was a political act. In fact, the intention was to provide flags to anyone wishing to make a small gesture of support for students and staff who identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Displaying a pride flag indicates that one is generally respectful and accepting of all gender identities and sexual orientations, and that those who identify as LGBTQIA+ are valued and safe to express themselves and/or ask for help if needed.

I listened to most board members lament the presence of the flags as “just a piece of fabric”, “inappropriate” and “upsetting”, not realizing how this framing conveyed an attitude of intolerance. Following the discussion, several citizens made public comments that were not only divisive and downright untrue, but many of which were genuinely hateful. After witnessing this exhibit, my stomach and heart still aches for LGBTQIA+ students and community members in Carroll County.

In contrast, Ms Mistry respectfully asked clarifying questions, said she was surprised and disappointed that LGBTQIA+ acceptance was even raised as an issue, and recorded a token “no” vote on the motion to to create a new flag policy. Although she has remained true to her beliefs throughout her tenure as student representative, Ms. Mistry’s performance at this meeting was incredibly inspiring. I hope she understands how important her voice and actions have been, and I wish her all the best as she completes her term on the board and heads into an even greater and certainly more bright.

Thank you for your service, Devanshi. You have made a difference, and we are very proud of you. I hope we can follow in your footsteps and make you proud too.

Amanda JozkowskiEldersburg

My name is Chris Tomlinson and I am running to represent Carroll County in the Maryland House of Delegates in the new fifth legislative district. The new district will be represented by three delegates and will encompass the majority of Carroll County, including Taneytown, Union Bridge, New Windsor, Harney, Keymar, Silver Run, Union Mills, Mount Airy, Woodbine, Winfield, Taylorsville, Eldersburg, Sykesville and the municipalities of Manchester and Westminster.

For the past eight years, District Five has been represented by Del. Susan Krebs, Haven Shoemaker and April Rose. With Krebs and Shoemaker not seeking re-election, I am running to fill one of those vacant seats. I am proud to have the support of our three current delegates in this election. Members of our current delegation support me because they know that I hold true Carroll County values ​​and am a fighter who will stand up for my constituents in Annapolis and deliver results.

I’m running because as a lifelong Conservative activist and dedicated community volunteer, I have the energy and experience to jump in and get to work from day one.

As a community leader, I’ve organized several food drives in the Hampstead/Manchester area, planned a free screening of the film Heroin Still Kills, ensured historic properties are preserved, and raised thousands of dollars for scholarships. academics.

As a Republican leader, served on the Maryland Republican Party board of directors, received the party’s 2018 Grassroots Volunteer of the Year award, provided live conservative commentary on ABC2 on election night in 2016 and 2020, and built and erected the only President Donald Trump. Billboard in Carroll County in 2020.

When elected to the Maryland General Assembly, I will fight tax increases, vaccination mandates, government excesses, the opioid epidemic, and liberal indoctrination in our schools. As your delegate, I will fight for small businesses, our agricultural heritage, the integrity of our elections, the lives of unborn children, law and order and those in uniform, and 2nd Amendment rights.

The primary election is July 19, so be sure to mark your calendars now. In the Republican primary election, I ask that you please consider Chris Tomlinson for one of your three votes for state delegate.

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Chris Tomlinson, Melrose

Tomlinson is a Republican candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates

As a bisexual transgender woman and a resident of Carroll County (though currently writing from Washington D.C. due to pursuing higher education in that city), I am heartened by Katie Speert’s answer to the flag question of pride, but I’m troubled by the vague insistence that “culture” is the problem.

The school board doesn’t make decisions about Carroll’s culture, and organizations like ACT UP haven’t fought the AIDS crisis with vague “culture” demands, and their efforts haven’t fundamentally changed the culture. . Also, since it serves as an abbreviated identifier of safe individuals to talk to, pride flags or something like them are actually needed. I know a few teachers I thought I would accept because of a relationship of trust who broke that trust after I came out and revealed that they probably would have revealed me to other students, or worse. Having a relationship of trust does not guarantee that it will continue to be one, and this is something that too many gay children know. Symbols are part of the culture, and clear and unambiguous identifiers of hospitality venues are needed, and no more political than, say, a Dungeons & Dragons sign that shows nerds are welcome.

Every election year, we tend to ignore people calling D&D satanic and political, so why should we listen to those who say the same about pride flags? Mere affiliations are not political unless the fearmongers do so.

To those who would reject me – I knew the word ‘transgender’ and it described me from middle school but I was taught to hide it. You will not end gay or trans children, you will just turn them into gay and trans adults with trauma and pain. Gay and trans people don’t want to make straight or cis kids gay or trans. We know the pain of being forced to be someone you’re not. We just want to see gay and trans kids grow into adults. That shouldn’t be too much to ask.

Phoebe Shatzer, Taneytown

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