In a heartfelt plea during a recent Wilson County School Board meeting in Tennessee, Lindsey Patrick-Wright, a concerned mother, exposed the cruel insults hurled at her sixth-grade child, Pippy, by their classmates. Here’s the full story.
Patrick-Wright shared these distressing accounts to shed light on the pervasive bullying and discrimination her child faced due to their sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Relentless Bullying
The litany of abuse included deeply hurtful remarks such as “d***… you should k*** yourself… my parents say “you’re a pervert” and “you’re going to hell.”
They Came Out in Fourth Grade
Pippy, who came out as lesbian in fourth grade and later adopted they/them pronouns, endured a tumultuous school year, frequently coming home upset.
They Aren’t Alone
Their experiences reflect a broader issue of anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments that have gained traction across the United States.
Innocents Under Attack
Various states have introduced or enacted legislation seeking to erode LGBTQ+ rights for individuals of all ages, including restrictions on gender-affirming care, limitations on pronoun usage in schools, bans on drag shows, and constraints on freedom of speech.
Anti-LGBTQ+ Sentiments Are on the Rise
The state of Tennessee alone has seen 491 bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community proposed, with 25 bills either advancing or passed into law.
They Found Support
Against this backdrop, Pippy managed to find solace in a supportive group of friends and a few teachers, and a counselor at the school who tried to create a safe space for them.
Abuse Happened on Uncontrolled Places
However, the abuse predominantly occurred in areas where teachers had limited control, such as school buses, hallways, and the cafeteria.
These are challenging environments for staff to moderate behavior, as Lindsey Patrick-Wright aptly pointed out.
The Mother Shared Her Thoughts
Patrick-Wright expressed her empathy for the educators and administrators, emphasizing that she holds elected officials responsible for allowing such harmful rhetoric to persist within homes and communities.
She Had Always Spoken Out
She has actively engaged in Tennessee school board meetings, previously speaking out against book bans and the efforts of certain groups to undermine the public education system.
She Wanted to Protect Her Child
However, until now, she refrained from discussing her child’s experiences to shield them from further scrutiny and harm.
But, recent developments have prompted a change in approach.
The Child Wanted to Attend Virtual Schooling
Pippy expressed their desire to attend a virtual school in the upcoming academic year to escape the bullying they faced in person.
This decision provided Patrick-Wright with the freedom to openly share her child’s experiences without fear of retribution.
It also allowed her to advocate for other parents who may not be ready to speak out and for students who are unable to voice their struggles.
Stormclouds on the Horizon
Several Twitter users shared their thoughts on the incident.
One Twitter user wrote, “This is what they want, to push all of us out of public life.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Papuchalka – kaelaimages. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.