Target: California English teacher Julia Frost
Goal: Applaud teacher for taking legal action against the school district that terminated her for helping LGBTI students fight harassment.
English teacher Julia Frost received overwhelmingly positive performance reviews for her period of probationary employment at Sultana High School in California’s Hesperia Unified School District, but she often felt uncomfortable there in the presence of other school and district officials. She felt that she was at the center of a hostile work environment because she was a lesbian, before she ever became involved in advocating for LGBTI students. However, despite the fact that colleagues treated her differently as a result of her sexual orientation, Frost attempted to provide support for LGBTI students at Sultana who were faced with discriminatory treatment.
According to Care2, Frost helped one student obtain the appropriate form for lodging an official complaint about “a teacher who the student alleges told her to ‘take the gay headband off’ and repeatedly used the phrase ‘that’s so gay’ in a disparaging way.” Then, acting in her capacity as a compassionate educator, a lesbian, and an advocate for LGBTI students during her short tenure, she took on the responsibility of co-advising Sultana’s Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA). Following this move, Julia Frost received a notice informing her that her contract would not be renewed. Frost, along with Lambda Legal, filed a lawsuit against the school and the district, accusing them of discriminatory treatment and of unlawfully firing her for reporting on unfair treatment of LGBTI students.
According to their co-counsel Bert Voorhees, “Throughout her two years at Sultana High, Julia was repeatedly singled out by the principal and other top administrators, even though the actions they questioned were identical to the actions of heterosexual teachers.” Predictably, the school district is refusing to acknowledge the unfair termination, and insists that she is pursuing the matter for her own personal gain. However, Frost’s words demonstrate her true motivations: “I love teaching and working with young people, and it breaks my heart to see some of them facing hostility and rejection just for being who they are. That’s why I agreed to be a faculty co-sponsor of the GSA. These students need and deserve a supportive, positive role model, just like all students do.”
By signing this petition, you are encouraging Julia Frost to persevere in her fight against discrimination in California schools. You are showing her that she will not be alone in this fight.
Dear Julia Frost,
I am inspired by your lawsuit protesting discrimination in California schools. I cannot imagine the pain that two years of discriminatory attitudes and behaviors might have wrought on your emotional health, but I am so glad that you found the strength to survive that treatment and to help young minds drowning in the prejudices of intolerant citizens. I am thankful for teachers like you who encourage students to open their minds and become more tolerant individuals who celebrate diversity.
I urge you to keep fighting the good fight for other teachers and students who feel they are not strong or influential enough to make a different. Thank you for your courage and please know that I stand in solidarity with you.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Antonio Cruz via Wikimedia Commons