LYNCHBURG, Va. – After rejecting a grant that would have paid for it all, the Lynchburg City School Board wants to find alternative ways to fund a ‘safe room’ for E.C. Glass High School.
Students from the Gender and Sexuality Alliance at E.C. Glass High School won a $10,000 grant to create the room.
It would have sound machines and headphones so students could block out noise as well as various furniture types and sensory tools for students feeling anxious. One of the other ideas was a punching bag for a student to let out their anger.
In November, the school board rejected the money because of the organization offering it. The “It Gets Better Project” is a nonprofit that supports networking and supporting students in the LGBTQ+ community.
On Tuesday, supporters packed the board room to express their concerns and disappointment with the board. Brittany Harris, Co-President of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance at E.C. Glass High School, was among the first to speak.
“We have all written speeches and told our stories just to be brushed off because a piece of paper needed to be on the wall,” Harris said.
LCS parents also took to the microphone to call on the board for change.
“Again and again, I’m seeing this board’s decision-making rejecting our most vulnerable populations and making things worse for the kids who need our help the most,” Megan Huffman said.
The board is open to the idea of a ‘safe space’ room but doesn’t want the room to have any sort of branding associated with it.
Now, people can donate money to the Lynchburg City Schools Education Foundation to help with the project.
“They have also agreed to be a flow-through agent for anyone who wants to donate funds to the E.C. Glass ‘safe space, safe room.,” Superintendent Crystal Edwards said.
The board plans to look at treating all future grants with the same rigor as they did with this one. They are trying to figure out a list of questions groups wanting to go after grants need to ask before coming to the school board with a proposal.