The Salt Lake City School District Board of Education recently voted to keep West High School open to students from outside the district for the next school year. This was the right decision. At the board meeting, students and teachers alike spoke out about how West High has become an open and inviting place for students of all varieties.
The last time I was at a Salt Lake board meeting was back in the mid-’90s, when, as an eighth-grader in the Extended Learning Program at West High, I walked out of school in protest of the cancellation of all clubs during the Gay/Straight Alliance debacle.
I will never forget that day. I was in my small engine repair shop class. I stood up at the appointed time and was the only student who walked out. My teacher told me that it would be an unexcused absence and I told him that was fine.
We then marched to the school board building and there was an impromptu meeting with school board members and administrators. At that time, West (and basically every other school) was not an inclusive school for LGBT+ students.
It was so amazing hearing from the students and teachers at West that the school is now a safe haven for these students and that LBGT+ students and their families now actively seek out the school. The school board's decision allows West to continue this honorable legacy.
Aaron C. Garrett, Salt Lake City