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Concerns about school-sanctioning of Pride Week place it in hands of QSA Club

QSA Pride Week posters hang around campus in preparation for the event. Credit: Anna Lapteva / The Foothill Dragon Press

Since August of this year, Associated Student Body (ASB) Awareness Week Director Hannah Yale ‘20 and ASB Vice President Josiah Beharry ‘19 have been planning to stage a Pride Week with the intention of establishing Foothill as a welcoming place.

When ASB organizes such awareness-based events, they take into consideration: “What are the needs of the Foothill student body?” and “How do we best serve those needs?” according to ASB Coordinator Melanie “Captain” Lindsey.

In Yale’s eyes, the LGBTQ+ community was one that needed attention, and she believes that a Pride Awareness Week would be helpful in showing that “Foothill is a safe place for everyone from the beginning of the year.”

The original t-shirt design. Credit: Hannah Yale (used with permission)
The original t-shirt design. Credit: Hannah Yale (used with permission)

It turned out that Pride Week was more complicated to execute than Yale had anticipated. One of the hallmarks of the awareness week was a shirt that said “fthsPRIDEweek” on the front, which aroused concerns regarding whether Foothill as a whole is sanctioning this event. 

Principal Joe Bova explained that he and the staff “became aware of certain aspects of the Pride Week last Friday,” including this shirt, “and it wasn’t until the weekend that I got a chance to take a look at some of the more details of it.”

Bova said it was then brought to the attention of school staff and the Ventura Unified School District (Ventura Unified).

The Ventura Unified School District Superintendent and Student Performance & Program Evaluation Administrative Specialist have not yet responded to a request for comment.

ASB was demotivated in organizing the event because, as Bova described, the school was assailed with parent complaints. Most of them regarded “school sponsorship of certain events,” but also concerned the inclusion or exclusion of “other groups.”

Complaints also noted that ASB wasn’t supporting other “groups that may be, say, marginalized groups or groups that need advocacy,” Bova clarified.

Furthermore, parents claimed that the school was endorsing a political agenda, which, according to the Board Policies of Ventura Unified School District, is not permitted, as teachers are required to present all issues “impartially.”

Bova stated that there were two ways to conduct the event: either hold it through ASB or “have a club sponsor and run the activity.” 



It was decided that “the cleanest way to do it” was to remove the event from the hands of ASB, and instead make it student-led through the establishment of a Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA) Club by Yale.

Despite the event being out of the hands of ASB, Bova believes that “everything is going to happen the same.”

New shirts have been created, reading “FTHS QSA Pride Week,” that will be sold in the student store for 10 dollars.

The action of making the event student-led was in compliance with Ventura Unified board policies, which expect “teachers to ensure that all sides of a controversial issue are impartially presented” and avoid “promoting any partisan point of view.” 

Yale believes that this policy indirectly prohibits schools from sanctioning events concerning “controversial issue[s].”



Bova furthered that “as educators, we’re supposed to be neutral parties—we’re not supposed to be advocating for one particular group or another.”

Similar to the gun rights march in April 2018, Bova stated that “when there’s activities on campus that are, let’s say, in support of particular groups,” they “really have to be student-led and student-sponsored.”

What do you think?
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Comments on articles are screened and those determined by editors to be crude, overly mean-spirited or that serve primarily as personal attacks will not be approved. The Editorial Review Board, made up of 11 student editors and a faculty adviser, make decisions on content.
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  • B

    Big Dad 03Jan 16, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    I agree.

  • C

    Conni CarrNov 18, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    I wish we had gotten the original t-shirts. Including the Foothill dragon logo would have been absolutely inclusive…of all students and staff. We are all Foothill Dragons, we were all “born this way”….whatever “way” you choose to interpret it…we can be supportive each other, no matter our differences.

  • K

    Kristen PelfreyNov 15, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    Sponsorship matters. I find it disturbing that a choice was made for our school community *not* to whole-heartedly endorse this event. Human rights are not controversial.

  • C

    Claire AdamsNov 14, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    What exactly is the controversial issue??

  • H

    Heidi DreilingNov 12, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    It’s great that Pride Week will still take place, but it’s flagrantly irresponsible of the school to cave to parent’s prejudices. Why shouldn’t ASB time and funds support LGBTQ+ student representation? Raising awareness of a minority group and celebrating our differences isn’t “endorsing a political agenda.”

    That said, I’m thrilled to learn that FTHS has a QSA. When I was a student there (class of ’09), school administrators did not allow my friends and I to start one.

  • C

    Cherie EulauNov 12, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    I call BS. We support athletes over other students and programs. The system and curriculum has definitely supported a white narrative.