Safe Places and What They Mean

Elizabeth O'hara, Staff Writer

A bulletin board with photos and descriptions of LGBTQ+ people and their acheivments in their life. The display is located near Ms. Bloomers art class. Photo by Liz O’hara.

Next to classroom doors across Olathe north there are many stickers and posters. You might be familiar with the small one that has an upside down rainbow triangle that says “this is a safe place” to some people this means alot but what about those who don’t know? These stickers represent the GSA club.

The GSA club, or the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, is a safe place for all those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or an ally. Anyone can join the club whether or not they’re gay or straight. They can be there just for support of a friend and helping them out on their journey; The safe place posters mean that there is a teacher that supports you and is willing to help you with these certain matters.

“It’s good, none of them are in any of my classrooms, but it’s good,” freshman Willow Bradberry said.

To students that don’t see these posters on the side of their classroom doors, it is unclear whether or not that teacher is supporting them.Some students believe it feels less genuine or they’re not being forward and open with their own words.

“I don’t think they entirely reflect the feelings of a teacher,” sophomore Nick Calore said.But for some others it’s just enough to make them feel safe. Knowing that there will be important adult figures that will support you if you don’t have anyone at home that does or having someone more experienced on this road of life to guide you is phenomenal. As this was already a big first step some students want to add more in school activities other than club meetings.

“I think they should do a LGBT+ history class, I think that’ll be helpful,” said Sophomore Calista Alphoson. Those who are allies are supporters of others who identify as LGBTQ+. These people are welcomed in the community and there is no pressure for anyone who is an ally to identify as LGTBQ+.

“ I think that’s it’s good that the community is more open,” said Calore

While others think it might be enough, some may think differently. Though our school has been more open about LGBT+ students, have said that Olathe North has been doing everything it can to support and protect our community within school, like asking preferred pronouns and not using individual’s dead names.

“Based on my experience, yeah,” freshman Atticus Harrold said while discussing if his pronouns and preferred name were being used properly.

Some students have said that their teachers have asked for their pronouns and have had other students ask for their pronouns. Others say that they feel safer in Olathe North compared to other schools. Even then, there are students that have had teachers call them by their preferred name and avoid the individual’s dead name.

“I would say yes, that most of our school respects LGBT+ kids,” said Freshman Erich Siegl.