parenting, volunteering, family involvement, safe space, curriculum
Tara: So Jess, tell us a little bit about this year for you. How is it similar to what you were doing before? How is it different?
Jess: I’m still volunteering, I volunteer two more days a week in other classes that don’t have my children, but have other kids like in their --
Stella: You do?
Jess: Yeah, yeah I do. I’ll tell you about it later. Yeah, so it’s not just about my own kids so much anymore as you know, everybody else who’s there. So I volunteer 2 more days a week, so that’s 4 days a week in total, and then I’m there every lunch hour and we touch base. I’m in this little pen, and she’s on the outside of the pen and we squeeze each other and talk about our day and how things are.
Stella: I usually ask her to come home early.
Jess: *imitating Stella* Can I come home early? I’m so tired today Mom.
Tara: And what does your mom say?
Jess: I always say no, except for today! So yeah, I’m very busy.
Stella: And, last year I’ve been dismissed before.
Jess: Yeah, we don’t need to, but yeah, this year I’m at school more. But, I think you’re more confident, and you’re using the girl’s bathroom now, which is pretty crazy great.
Stella: Not all the time.
Jess: But a lot of the time. Definitely more than last year, right. And now you’re kinda more willing to talk to other people about who you are. When you feel like it, right?
Tara: Right, and how important is it do you feel to be in the school every day? I remember the last time we talked to you, it was really important. Is it still as important as it was last time we spoke?
Jess: Yes. I think back then it was more in a response to something terrible that happened. Where as now I feel like I really want to keep the status quo of her feeling safe, as well as educating as many of the other children around her as possible. So [03:00] I try to have those conversations for her.
Tara: You were telling us a little bit before about how you did a lot of educating in the halls, and one of the reasons you do that is because there really isn’t too much educating in the classroom. There are posters on the walls-
Jess: But no discussions of those posters.
Tara: Right, tell us a little bit more about that.
Stella: There are posters saying “This is a safe space for transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual” doesn’t mention queer families. And staff.
Jess: And so we have supportive statements around.
Stella: But they never actually discuss what --
Jess: Have a full conversation with the class.
Stella: Lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans is.
Jess: What it means right? So we’ve got some awesome rainbow posters but not a whole lot of connection.
Stella: But, queer. They don’t even like, that’s not even mentioned on the posters.
Jess: Yeah, there’s a lot of terminology. We would even just try to get the base of the LGBTQ and have some conversations.
Stella: Just try and even like squeeze in queer.
Jess: Yeah, but having as many conversations about gender identity in kindergarten to grade 6, we need much more discussions of that in a more formal setting, because I’m finding that a lot of people don’t, so I’m filling in those blanks.
Stella: There needs to be more discussions, because that’s just the 2 grades in all of the school that actually talk about it.
Jess: Yeah, 6 and 8. 6,7 and 8 they have conversations about it.
Stella: Some of my friends I’ve told what LGBTQ is. One of my new friends, J, already knows what it is. And we talk about it. Mom talks about it sometimes.
Jess: But the more that you talk about it, I think the more - but yeah, we would like some more education. More formal education K-6, huh?