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Be Who You Are with Mrs. Zacher

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New Milford encourages all students to be unique and not to be afraid to stand up for what they believe to be right.

New Milford encourages all students to be unique and not to be afraid to stand up for what they believe to be right.

Lillian Hui

Lillian Hui

New Milford encourages all students to be unique and not to be afraid to stand up for what they believe to be right.

Lillian Hui, Co-Editor 2

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The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal. So, why is it that people who are deemed “different” are looked down upon? Why are they discriminated against?

In our world, anything is possible. It is possible for us to change who we are or what we want to be. There’s a very likely chance that you know a person who isn’t happy with who they are. Even in our little New Milford community, there is bound to be at least one person who isn’t comfortable in their own skin.

According to Mrs. Dorene Zacher, New Milford’s district student assistant counselor and HIB (Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying) coordinator, the district “tries to promote an educational environment where all students feel accepted and celebrated. The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, asexual, pansexual, and demisexual students’ rights, just like all students, are one of our top priorities.”

Mrs. Zacher also added that the district is in the process of implementing new policies and procedures to address the needs of the LGBTQIAPD community. “Students are always welcomed into my office to discuss any questions or concerns they may have. Each student may have different opportunities available to them depending on what they feel needs to be addressed regarding their comfort in certain areas of school and academics.”

Several educational intervention and prevention programs concerning the needs of the LGBTQIAPD community, the protection of their rights, and the New Jersey Anti Bullying Bill of Rights Act were developed by Mrs. Zacher. She also developed a mentoring program at the high school called BUDDY. The word “BUDDY” is an acronym for “Bullying Undermines Developing Diverse Youths.”

“Buddy also sponsors a Day of Silence for all individuals who are suffering in our society because they are being bullied due to distinguishing characteristics,” says Mrs. Zacher.

Mrs. Zacher gave her own insight on the criticisms of people that are LGBTQIAPD.

“I believe that criticism about any race, religion, or sexual orientation revolves around a lack of education and acceptance. It is easy to criticize some and walk away, it is much harder to stand with the person and discuss your differences.”

She added, “In regards to students who are transgender, for some, imagining that a person was born in the wrong body is a concept that most individuals cannot comprehend. It should not take a reality star to bring light to this topic. The LGBTQIAPD community is one of the highest groups for self-injury and suicide. They should not be judged or ridiculed for being who they are.”

We are all aware of how we criticize one another for things whether it is as simple as looking a bit different. It would not be a surprise to hear that students would judge each other because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Not only do I think students can be critical of their peers, I believe that society is too critical of the LGBT community. It is very easy to take someone else’s personal inventory. Unless you are perfect and have been blessed, look inside yourself first before you make a statement,” says Mrs. Zacher.

Students tend to not think before they say things and sometimes, it can really affect one of their peers. So, how do we call attention to the remarks that are said by students to people that are LGBTQIAPD? Mrs. Zacher says they have to be reported.

“This is their school and these are their hallways. I cannot imagine that the students of New Milford would ever allow someone to be purposefully hurt without someone being the voice for the silent victim.”

What can we do as a school to make a difference to those that are LGBTQIAPD? Mrs. Zacher says that the, “[b]iggest difference that [the student body] can make is not to identify them as LGBTQIAPD. They are your peers, your friends, your fellow classmates. They are a girl, they are a boy, they are who they are. We need to stop with the classifications and predetermined characteristics. See the person for who they are not what they are.”

We hope you have learned something new about the LGBTQIAPD community. Please share a kind word to someone you know, and if you know anyone who is suffering from ridicule for being different, stand up for them. As a New Milford student, you are capable of changing the world. One kind word to a stranger could make all the difference.

If you would like to read more about LGBTQIAPD information at NMHS, check out Erika Ramos’s and Alysia Kane’s articles.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Be Who You Are with Mrs. Zacher”

  1. Reinier Nobel-Klaucke on December 19th, 2015 4:36 am

    Hello,

    I’d like to react on this article. Being a teacher myself, I see bullying happen every day. That has made me think about why it happens. It might be a little unorthodox, but I’ve come to the conclusion that bullying is part of our nature!

    Bullying happens all around you. Not just in our human society, but in nature too. The strong prey on the weak. The weak get eaten.
    When animals have youngsters, there’s often one smaller, weaker one. That one gets thrown out of the nest or doesn’t get the nourishment it needs because it’s siblings ate it all.
    A friend of mine is a farmer and has about 10.000 turkeys. He told me once that if he would paint a blue dot on one of the turkeys, it would be dead within 24 hours. The other turkeys see the dot as ‘different’ and start picking it. Soon the blue paint is gone, but a bold spot has appeared so they keep picking. Blood appears, making the spot even clearer. The spotted turkey doesn’t stand a chance.

    We do exactly the same. We see someone who is different and we start pointing it out. Making fun of it, preferably in public to underline our dominance over the ‘freak’. We keep going, we don’t stop. The weak ones get thrown out of the ‘nest’ like a bird. The ‘odd one out’ is killed by all the others.

    It’s literally ‘in our nature’.

    However:
    We are are not animals. We have been gifted with reason. It is our main feature. It is what makes us stand out. We can think in a way no animal can. That gives us the ability to identify obsolete instincts and overcome them. It is our ability to think that gave us dominance over the animals.
    So why do we still use our animal instinct to show our dominance over each other? We’re not animals, are we? Following your animal instinct is really a sign you’re NOT the dominant one.
    We should all keep this in mind and act upon it every time we see it happen. Show your dominance by ‘being the bigger person’ and take care of each other.

    I fully support Mrs. Zacher’s opinion that the biggest difference to make is not to identify someone as ‘different’. Our urge to follow that instinct is the cause of almost all bullying, fights and even wars.

    Let us all be human instead.

    Reinier Nobel-Klaucke

    Assen, The Netherlands

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Be Who You Are with Mrs. Zacher