The Progression to Self-Acceptance
A whisper or story of sorts has been spread throughout Bonneville High School, favored toward those with preferred names and anyone under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. The story entailed a list of students' preferred names and pronouns, and circulated many of these individuals that have had their preferred names listed on some counseling notes and addressed by their preferred pronouns. With countless students left wondering, an interview was conducted with Bonneville's very own Mr. Jared Smith, one of the school's three counselors.
After an interview with Smith, the tale was neither confirmed nor denied, leaving much to speculation. Is there a list or not? After being asked about the story circulating, he did say, "There might or might not be a list. [W]hat matters is that you learn to accept yourself.” His answers mostly talked about self acceptance, as many students are trying to discover themselves while attending high school. In addition, Smith also mentioned that being a counselor involves assisting others with figuring out who they are and who they want to be. One sagacious question became the theme of the interview: “At the end of the day, is it the list or the self-acceptance?” After all, does the school district agree with the use of students' preferred names and pronouns?
Along with the talk about the supposed list, a few questions about the district’s policy on preferred names and pronouns were asked. Smith explained, “because most students are still minors, we have to respect the parent’s decision. I do try to make them feel welcome and accepted. Our job as counselors is to help students find their own path to make.” While the district does not allow students to put their preferred names in PowerSchool, most teachers make an effort to try to use them. While District policies are not subject to change, the acceptance both the teachers and counselors give is something like no other.
Speaking on the district policy and PowerSchool, a statement was given by BHS' principal Levi Owen. He said, "I don’t know that I have a lot [to] add on the pronoun story, honestly. We work with kiddos everyday to try and make our school welcoming and inclusive. I have outlined my expectations of office staff and shared the attached document with each counselor, secretary, and [administrator]. As for any 'lists' or what is in PowerSchool, we simply follow board policy. If individuals choose to utilize different names, that is their prerogative. We have several students who go by 'nicknames'" Most schools in the past would not have been as accepting as BHS to the current students under their school, showing just how much today's society has changed.
While the whisper will still make the rounds, think back to what Smith said: “At the end of the day, is it the list or the self-acceptance?” After all, does anyone need a list to show who they are?
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