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North Thurston School District teachers take day of silence in protest

This letter was sent out to Nisqually Middle School parents. (Contributed photo)

A North Thurston School District teacher took a day of silence on Friday, along with many colleagues at Nisqually Middle School in Lacey, to protest LGBTQ discrimination.

But Nisqually parent Rachel Wolfe is wondering, where is the similar tolerance for all students?

Wolfe’s daughter brought home a letter from her social studies teacher explaining his reasoning for the day of silence. In the letter, the teacher stated that the class would be watching “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” in lieu of a lesson that would require him to speak, and that he would communicate all necessary information to students, including disciplinary action, in writing.

I have unfortunately witnessed first-hand loved ones of mine get harassed or discriminated against based solely on how they identify themselves and because who they love [sic]. I am silent today to show my support for this cause and am choosing to take a day without a voice to bring attention to the injustice many face daily. I do this in effort for a better, kinder and more equal tomorrow for all.

The teacher added that only an emergency or the need to answer the telephone would force him to speak.

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Wolfe found the protest against harassment and mistreatment hypocritical given the intense bullying her daughter has frequently undergone in North Thurston schools.

The difference? Wolfe’s daughter is bullied for being a conservative.

“My daughter is an open Republican — she’s been very vocal about it — and on a regular basis, she’s harassed over and over again. If she chooses to wear a MAGA hat or a Trump shirt or American flag leggings or anything like that, she’s called a racist,” Wolfe told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “Walking down the hallway, people say, ‘Watch out, here comes the Republican.'”

The bullying extended beyond verbal abuse. Last year, another girl even cut Wolfe’s daughter’s hair while calling her a racist.

Wolfe can’t understand while multiple teachers would make such a public statement for LGBTQ bullying, yet not acknowledge the students being tormented for their political beliefs.

“For them to take a day of silence for this, yet allow for her to be continually harassed and bullied over her political affiliation, I found absolutely ridiculous,” Wolfe said.

When Wolfe spoke with the Nisqually vice principal about teachers engaging in a political protest during school hours, she was told that the school did not want teachers to have to hide their beliefs.

“I have nothing against the LGBTQ community,” Wolfe stressed. “I think whatever you choose to do is up to you.”

What she does have a problem with is teachers taking an obvious political stance on the job.

But teachers showing their own political biases is not new in the North Thurston School District, Wolfe said. Whenever her daughter speaks her views in social studies class, her teacher does not stay neutral, but debates her, trying to convince her of his viewpoint.

“There’s nothing you can do about it, because the majority of the teachers — at least in our public school system — are heavily liberal, and they’re very vocal about it,” she said, adding, “They’re supposed to remain [unbiased]. I have no problem teaching politics, but you need to teach every side of politics — not just the side that you want the kids to know.”

 

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