DES MOINES, Iowa –The topics discussed at an anti – bullying conference for LGBT teens last April is still raising concern among community members.
The conference was hosted by activist group, Iowa Safe Schools. The group admits one of the speakers talked in depth about sexual health and used vulgar language in front of a thousand middle school and high school aged students.
Several students and teachers from the Humboldt School District attended the event and a community group in is questioning why the school district let students attend in the first place.
The group, titled “Concerned Citizens” is petitioning for the school to ban the event towards students in the future and called the district’s decision to allow the students to attend the conference, “a gross misuse of taxpayer money.”
However the district’s superintendent, Greg Darling, said the school did not pay for the students to attend the conference since it was hosted through a student – run club. He said the club’s organizer is in charge of fundraising efforts and must determine if the event will be attended next year.
Darling told Channel 13, “We support all clubs in the school that meet the polices and procedures. We are an equal opportunity school and do not discriminate against anyone. We strive to have a positive learning environment in the district but we do not support any group of individuals who uses profanity in presentations.”
Iowa Safe Schools is planning to help the students from Humboldt and others schools attend the event with the help of scholarship money.
Nate Monson said for those trying to prevent LGBT teens from attending is, “disgusting”. Monson is the organization’s executive director and said he is working to make the event bigger and better based on the criticism from last year’s event.
“The most frustrating thing of this, it’s my job in this state to make sure statistics go down that are impacting LGBT kids. It’s incredibly frustrating that adults are being the problem and being the bully. We can do better in Iowa,” he said.
Humboldt was among a handful of other communities and school districts who expressed their concern about the conference. Monson plans to visit the areas to discuss how the event could be improved in the future.