Participants: Skinner family; Participants: Skinner parents; Advocacy; Outness; Positive space; School administration; School board; Support; Teachers; Clothing
Jessica: Stella, you could always tell, uh, she liked all different kinds of things. And Ms. Randal kind of took her under her wing, and um, every time it was time for her to just start a new class, Ms. Randal would say “I’m taking her with me. I’m going to the next grade.” And uh, when Stella wanted to wear her Elsa dress for the first time to school, I didn’t have the guts to do it, but I sent it in her bag, and Ms. Randal put it in - put her in it. And I didn’t know she was-
Alex: She had begged her so much.
Jessica: And she called and said “She’s in it now, she’s in it now!” And I was like “Oh my God what’s happening? Is it okay?” But she was the one to have like really the guts. And then I thought from that point on, “Oh my gosh, I need to up my game here.”
Alex: Because Stella had a couple of little dresses that we had saved of Emily’s from when she was really young. And you know, we have nephews and nieces, and stuff like that. So of course we save clothes for them and stuff. And Stella had fallen in love with a couple of them and and she was absolutely in love with Elsa, and she had seen this Elsa dress one day, and because she had seen the Elsa dress, she just begged and begged and begged for it. And finally she got the Elsa dress and we said “Okay you can wear it at home.”
Jessica: I would buy dresses but they were pyjama dresses.
Jessica: So you know, I was putting my own kind of labels of what was okay.
Alex: And so you know, she would be so excited in the morning like ‘Can I wear this to school?” And we’d be like “No. No you can’t. You can put it back on when you go home.” Finally we were in this like “You can bring it with you, and show it to your teacher.” Because it was so important to her.
Alex: She was even like “I won’t even wear it, just let me show it to her please!”
Jessica: And that’s the only way I could say yes. Which was ridiculous.
Alex: So “Okay, you can bring it, you can show it.” And then we got the call saying she wanted to put it on right now. Right now. And it changed her.
Jessica: And it changed us!
Alex: Yeah. Because we were like well, it’s so important, to her.
Jessica: That other people are fighting for her in a way that I’m not.
Tara: So interesting. What is it about Ms. Randal that you think allowed Stella to?
Jessica: I know it’s because she has uh, friends who um, are, who deal with positive spaces, the positive space network, and The Rock in Oakville. She’s friends with people within that organization, and also within the equity team at the Halton District School Board. So she knew of, I think, via her friendships with the programs that were available. Now we didn’t have any of those put in place in the school at the time. But she just kind of knew that they existed.
Alex: And recognized the need for it.
Jessica: So encouraged, and was just so positive about it. Like she’s just a really progressive person.
Jonathon: We were also very lucky, and it feels like the school, in it’s whole, is very willing to move forward.
Jessica: Very receptive.
Jonathon: The principal has been very helpful.
Alex: Finding resources and stuff. Like okay what’re we gonna do about this? “Well like, I don't know, what’re we gonna do? Let’s work on this.” And they’d sit down with us.
Jessica: But they knew who to call, and they did it. But Ms. Randal was the, was the point person. She was the first one to start.
Alex: Like “Let me talk to the vice principal and the principal about this.”