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Policies needed to better protect kids


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By Erica Elizabeth Ravenwood PUBLISHED: FRIDAY, AUGUST 12, 2016 AT 12:44 AM
 
 

EDITOR: What I’m going to talk about right now is the need for school policy that better protect our children. In order to make my point I need to share with you my own rather horrific childhood.

I started being bullied at 7 years old. Called gay slurs because for me being a girl equaled gay in the boys’ eyes and gay was deserving of being beaten. I know for a fact that at 7 years old I had no sexuality, but because I grew up prior to the Internet, the term “transgender” didn’t exist as it does now. So they missed out on beating me up for that reason.

My first tooth lost was a tooth knocked out, and by fourth grade I had no more baby teeth. I never said a word to my parents about why. My parents loved me, but my dad was angry about the gay movement that started in 1969 and was hitting its stride in the ‘70s when I was going through school. How could I have told my parents that I’m a girl when girl equals gay and gay is deserving to be beaten? I keep it all a secret because I didn’t know what else to do.

I was afraid to go to school. I was afraid to use the restroom during lunch or recess because on the couple of occasions I did, I was beaten up. Instead, I would time my asking in class so that the teacher might not tell me I couldn’t go, and I could use the restroom hoping no boy was in there. Or I faked illness so I could use the single-person restroom in the nurses office. On two occasions during elementary I had accidents because I couldn’t hold my bowel movement before I could get home, and had to deal with the ridicule the rest of the way by a group of kids.

By 9 years old I was suicidal. Death seemed preferable to life and my first way of trying to die was to try to catch pneumonia because I heard it could kill you. I would wet my head after everyone had gone to sleep and stand outside in only my underwear in the winter. I never caught pneumonia. I caught bronchitis instead a few times, and for that I was grateful. At least it kept me from going to school.

In fourth grade I had two extreme injuries. Both inflicted by someone else. By fourth grade all my permanent teeth were trying to come in because I had lost all my baby teeth by then. My two front teeth were permanent. My two front teeth now are both shoved up into my skull. My two front teeth are fake. I had to endure years of painful treatments in a dentist chair, but at that time I had to go to get the pavement cleaned painfully off my gums. I developed an extreme fear of the dentist. To me it only meant pain. The second incident was a concussion so bad it left a goose egg-size bump on my forehead between my eyes. My eyes swollen shut and blackened. The doctor told my mom that if I were hit there again in any way before my skull fully healed, I could have brain damage. I was grateful for that injury. It kept me out of school for almost the rest of the year. It was then my family started referring to me as “accident prone.”

The policies that I’m proposing are to help keep children safe. Not just the transgender child, but any child that feels unsafe in the places where the teacher can’t see. The teacher can’t protect. This is where extreme bullying occurs. Where those who may stop it can’t see. Will we create a perfect world? No, but that isn’t the intention. It’s to do what is in our power to do to help keep all our children safe. I have some issues that will never be resolved due to how I was treated. I’ll have to endure certain things for the remainder of my life. My fate doesn’t and shouldn’t be the fate of children we can help now when we have it in our power to change certain things so easily. Let’s make this next school year a better school year for all our kids by pressing the school boards to be brave enough to place the children first and hopes for their re-election second. #transgender

Erica Elizabeth Ravenwood

Geneseo

These are the policy details I'm proposing. Slightly but significantly different from the LGBT's current stance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kvctQnUgI0

 

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