Shameful political propaganda posted at local gas station

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A piece of political propaganda has been shared around the community linking support of “transexual” [sic] teachers to four school board campaigns. There has been a recent uptick nationally in vitriolic, and even violent, rhetoric against people who identify as LGBTQ+, and particularly against trans people; unfortunately, Chelsea is no exception.

The word used on the flyer is an outdated term intended as a slur against transgender people, and the rhetoric hints at far-flung conspiracy theories about public educators indoctrinating students as part of a political agenda. The photo (which appears to have originated in Canada) is one repurposed in outrageous tabloid stories designed to further these ideas. It suggests that anyone who supports “trans teachers” supports an inappropriate learning environment for students.

This fear-driven non-sequitur is part of an old playbook—one infecting school board races and communities across the country today. Caricatures, stereotypes, and fear of minority groups have been weaponized throughout the history of American elections and social life.

The apparent goal is to drive a wedge against the perceived ”progressive” candidates in the non-partisan school board race, but the candidates themselves are not the victims here. This time, our LGBTQ+ neighbors have been targeted recklessly for political gain.

Chelsea teachers will not stand by and allow bigotry to harm our students. I know first-hand what it’s like to feel isolated as the result of a comment that may or may not have been intended to hurt me. Our students and the parents of these students also feel this. You have probably felt this, too. So why would we ever put someone in a position, especially in our community’s schools, where they must wonder if they are really worth existing?

I want to be publicly and abundantly clear: You are worth it. You do matter.

The job of a Chelsea teacher is to sharpen the minds and inspire the creativity, passion, and intellect of this community’s next generation. We do this while respecting the dignity and humanity of every student—regardless of politics, religion, race, orientation, gender, or any other identity label that others might use to divide human beings.

I would hope every candidate for school board—not just here, but everywhere—would do the same. I am calling on every Chelsea school board candidate to denounce the implications and rhetoric of this flyer and unequivocally commit to uplifting every student in our district, and especially those who have been left at the margins for far too long.

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