Students deserve a safe environment to learn regardless of their identity
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Since August, there have been five separate bomb threats made to the Mary L. Stephens Davis Library. One of the threats also specifically targeted Davis schools and the homes of several Davis Joint Unified School District employees. While the investigation of the threats is ongoing, Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel said in a recent statement that several, if not all, of the threats contained anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric. As the investigation continues to develop, the Editorial Board stands in support of the youth in our community and condemns the threats that have put children’s safety at risk.
The first bomb threat referenced a controversial event titled “Forum on FAIR AND SAFE Sport for GIRLS” held by the Yolo County branch of the national organization Moms for Liberty on Aug. 20 at the Mary L. Stephens Davis Library, in which they intended to discuss transgender athletes in women’s sports. During the event, the featured speaker referred to trans women as “biological males,” and continued to misgender certain high-profile trans athletes during her presentation. She was then asked to leave the library, which sparked a debate on free speech rights across several national news outlets.
The first threat was sent the day after the event. While it is unclear if the perpetrators share any link to Yolo County Moms for Liberty, it appears that they are sympathetic to their cause.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and has the right to express them; however, free speech does not excuse bomb threats. There is a healthy way to express an opinion while not at the expense of children. These threats exist to disrupt the normalcy of educational operations as a form of protest. You can disagree with the decision of the library to ask the speaker to leave without taking violent measures to “defend” your political beliefs. By crossing the line of sending bomb threats to elementary, middle and high schools, you show how little kids’ safety means to you. There’s only one word to describe this kind of behavior: it’s cowardly.
Adolescence is a time when students should be able to explore themselves and discover the type of people they want to be. This period of exploration can also extend to sexuality and gender identity. LGBTQIA+ youth often face more bullying, threats and violence than their non-LGBTQIA+ peers.
LGBTQIA+ students, as well as all students, deserve to have a safe environment where they can learn and exist without being part of a political game.
Five consecutive bomb threats should not be normalized. Even for the threats that didn’t specifically target Davis schools, the proximity of Davis Senior High School to the local library means that their students and staff have had to shelter in place and evacuate several times throughout the beginning of their school year. It’s easy for us to become desensitized with so much violence in the news regularly, but these are real children who are being forced out of their routines. This can’t become the standard for Davis, and we need to push back against this false sense of normalcy.
The investigation into these threats is ongoing and as news continues to develop, we urge you to employ conscious media consumption and only read trusted news sources, or read direct updates from the Davis Police Department Facebook page.
While luckily none of the threats have been carried out, they have still induced anxiety within students and their families. There are local resources available such as the Davis Queer Teen Group which holds meetings to provide a safe space for LGBTQIA+ youth in the community. In addition to resources for youth, there are organizations like Yolo Rainbow Families, an advocacy group for people in Yolo County with LGBTQIA+ family members.
While not a direct resource ourselves, the members of the Editorial Board condemn the actions of the individual(s) responsible for the bomb threats as well as any hateful anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric being propagated by individuals or organizations. We will always support and celebrate LGBTQIA+ youth.
Written By: The Editorial Board