The New Richmond Exempted Village School District Board of Education (NREVSD) has issued new directives to teachers and staff in the middle school that LGBTQ+ advocates say will severely affect the health and safety of LGBTQ+ students in the school.
New Richmond is a small town of approximately 2,500 residents in Clermont County on the Ohio-Kentucky border.
Michelle Johnson, the founder of New Richmond Pride explained that three different staff members approached their organization, sharing that Principal Court Lilly verbally two delivered instructions to staff last week from the Board of Education:
- Forced removal of rainbow stickers or rainbow imagery that could indicate the teacher and/or classroom is a safe person/space to speak to/about LGBTQ+ issues.
- Halting the supply and use of forms which allow students the ability to provide their preferred gender identity, pronouns and name to use while at school.
Despite their actions being called “oppressive and discriminatory,” the Board did not respond to any of the public comments to clarify, affirm, or deny their directives. The Board quickly moved on to the rest of their agenda after the emotional testimony had concluded.
- New Richmond Pride recommends that concerned individuals can lodge formal complaints with the superintendent (513-553-2616 x12102) and can e-mail state school board representative at Brendan.Shea@education.ohio.gov.
- If you or someone you know is struggling, you are not alone. Some resources:
- The BRAVO (Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization) helpline is open 9am – 7pm, Monday – Friday, and individuals can reach out via phone (1-866-862-7286), text (614-333-1907), or secure chat (bravo-ohio.org).
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741 to text with a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line.
- The Trevor Project (thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now) provides phone, chat and text support for LGBTQ+ youth.
- The Trans Lifeline provides support for transgender people, by transgender people, at 1-877-565-8860.
- The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline (1-888-234-7243) provides peer support and local resources for older adults.
- Register your school’s GSA with the Ohio GSA Network, coordinated by Kaleidoscope Youth Center who provide resources and support for Ohio GSAs and LGBTQ+ youth.