CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Monday evening, Forest Hills Public Schools will hold their scheduled board meeting virtually as they have been doing for months. However, this time, parents and others are expected to share their thoughts and opinions on the significance of the Global Learners Initiative, a group which promotes racial healing.
“GLI is such a big part of my life. I have a very diverse group of friends and I witnessed firsthand the backlash, the homophobia, the racism in the school building,” Elisabeth said during a Zoom interview with FOX 17. “I am one of the kids at school that people believe are/is one of the safe ones to come to. I hear, problems that especially the parents and the faculty at our schools don’t hear.”
According to the FHPS website, GLI is a group of staff, students, parents, and community members that’s ‘creating an inclusive and equitable environment in which all learners can grow and learn.’ Among their goals is to foster conversations about race and racism.
However lately, there’s been talk about the usage of pronouns, and allowing students to decide what they’d like to be referred to. This, they said, upset parents.
“There is concern about conversations about Dr. King. This kind of stems back to January. But, really it comes up every few years, where people just don’t want to have the conversation about what it means to celebrate people or even sometimes to think about people who are different than them,” McDowell said. “There’s just this belief that we can stay in this tiny bubble and we can dictate who comes in and who comes out. But the truth is that it’s a global conversation and we need to be having it.”
The McDowells added that they’ve also been hearing about a group of naysayers trying to dismantle GLI.
The district said they weren’t aware of any person or persons trying to get rid of the group. GLI has been around for 10 years and has always advocated for inclusivity and equity for all students.
“GLI isn’t just a club for us. It’s a way to teach and to learn and to grow. It’s changed the way that I walk not only though my school by my community and that’s something I think a lot of us need to learn,” Elisabeth said. “I’m not here talking to you guys because I want to look cool in front of my peers. In fact, I might witness backlash for it. I’m doing is because the color of my skin gives me the privilege.”