I’m sick of this craziness going on in our schools, and I push back
Unfortunately, the reason for the speech was not positive. The Virginia Beach City Public School Board had a proposed resolution on its agenda that would require teachers to send permission slips home before students could read or discuss novels in class in order to move on to a later total book ban. It would also email parents every time they checked out a book at the library. Immediately I thought of the people I went to school with, those who used their school library resources to discover themselves, and I knew I had to do what I could to raise awareness and kill that resolve for protect our most vulnerable from being unmasked by their school board. As a gay student and former student of the VBCPS system, I was sickened by the worst case scenario but still the guaranteed reality of a world where this resolution passes.
Students need intentional support and rehab/vocational services for students with special needs needs significant amplification, in my last 15 years as a student this has literally always been true everywhere I went. We know what issues students really face, and it’s heartbreaking that they’re ignored to discuss topics like this, it’s not representative of our district and I hope to see full support for all students in the near future, and see structural changes in how we serve our students in exceptional circumstances.
My speech received very positive support from community members and through the linked tweet. I’ve been before this school board countless times for state awards and recognitions, but I feel the vibes shift when I’m there with more analytical or critical things to say. I intend to continue making those waves throughout the community. If there’s one thing my generation can do is rally behind what we believe in and with more support in my riding newly driven by younger voters, that can create the momentum that I have need to flip my seat.
I know school board fights happen like this nationwide, and I know people everywhere get away with allowing hate speech and laws that harm the quality of life of our students. . It’s a sad but true reality and it’s happening because of the Republican’s focus on local seats in recent years. I have seen several family/community members speaking out in support of this resolution calling same-sex relationships pornography and trying to hide a large marginalized community from their children. This month of November is the perfect opportunity to shake things up. The following November will be a spark of change in my District and in my Commonwealth, as the entire House of Delegates is up for re-election.
My name is Zach Coltrain, I’m a 20 year old music student running for the VA House of Delegates in VA98. Help me spread a message of support to students and all communities in my district. Below are links to my ActBlue website and page, my opponent is a millionaire indifferent to the status quo and with your help we can overthrow the siege in 2023.
“Good afternoon, Superintendent Spence and the school board, my name is Zach Coltrain and I am a recent alumnus of SES, PAMS AND LSA FCHS, and I represent vbcps as the youngest candidate in the history of the State to file for the House of Delegates, and I quote my time with support staff to find out where I get my advocacy skills. I come here virtually from my university to speak with you all.
I’m going to take the proposed resolution on “parental rights” in several parts for the rest of my time.
To start with the following
“While the most important indicator of student success is parental involvement”
When I started looking at research from the National PTA and the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education, the results convinced me that there was nothing wrong with the statement offered in the resolution. However, using every bit of context from the last 13 years of my life and the last 2 years in higher education, I can tell you firsthand as a student that this is a logical error. . Passing legislation that cements the importance and priority of parental involvement fails to account for all students whose parents cannot commit to education. The very purpose of the public school system is that we can have a place where everyone has the opportunity to learn, regardless of background, class, or status. The exclusion of students whose parents cannot prioritize the education standards of their children at all times is a sad but true outcome of some of the economic disparity issues within our community.
Moving on to the resolutive action of the legislation, point B calls for all schools to require a signature before a book is distributed in class. Looking at how many problems arise from field trip permits, federal maps, stacks of start-of-year documents, and everything else. Teachers don’t need extra work, students don’t need extra responsibilities, and parents certainly don’t need to be the reason a student loses the educational value of their teacher and class. because a piece of paper gets stuck in the students’ backpack. It is not practical.
Item 3, oh boy, Virginia Beach City Public Schools need to develop a system where parents receive an email when their students check out a book from the library. The email will contain a link to websites where parents can check out borrowed books. Without dwelling on the fact that no one needs or wants this, which manifests itself every day in schools, I would like to stress the absolute necessity of protecting students who wish to learn about personal, academic or any other important subject. Students reading a book about being queer or wanting to ski makes no difference. I came out when I was 12, because my school made me feel comfortable enough to discover and display this about myself, and I had options to freely discover within and outside of school. I grew up reading the personal stories and data statistics of depression suicide in lgbt youth when exposed to an unsupportive family. I knew I was lucky to be safe at home, but many people have had, don’t, and won’t have that luxury. Forcing students into this situation can significantly compromise their quality of life. This resolution creates this guaranteed scenario. This resolution does nothing to improve student education standards, it creates nightmarish logistical hurdles, and it puts the safety of some of VBCPS’ most vulnerable students at risk. I urge you all to vote against this mess.”