Maverick Loveless, Staff Writer

Acceptance. When people think of the word acceptance, each person has a different interpretation of it. But what does the word acceptance mean to the HB community? This is the question that I am hoping to answer with this article. For the LGBTQ+ community, acceptance means feeling like no matter how you identify, you will be treated like a human being and not discriminated against. For people that are different, whether it’s in how they act, look, dress, or the color of their skin, acceptance means that they aren’t treated differently because of what makes them their own unique selves. How does Hollis-Brookline do with acceptance of this group of people? 

The overall feeling is that HB does better at acceptance than some schools do. The safe zone signs really help people feel better about talking to teachers. A source, who prefers to remain anonymous (we will be calling them Phoenix), has some input as a queer student. When asked how HB makes them comfortable, Phoenix responded positively, “when the teachers ask what my pronouns are and if I have a preferred name or not. It’s nice that they don’t just assume, they take the time to get to know you as a person and ask those questions. I also love seeing the safe space stickers on teachers’ doors. It fills me with a sense of safety and comfort knowing that I am supported by people in this school.” Ms. Staub, the GSA adviser, says she feels like on a whole, HB has an awareness of acceptance and support, but as every school does, there are things that we can work on. No matter where you go, there will always be some struggles for acceptance. 

One particular struggle this school year at HB has been the vandalism of the GSA board, where students post the dates of the next GSA meetings. “I hate to say it, but vandalism has been a huge struggle recently. I walk through the halls to my next class only to see one of the posters torn down. This creates a huge hassle for me because once I see it, I have to mark the date and the time it happened then report it to our club advisor, Ms. Staub, and hang up more posters to replace the ones torn down and along with that, I have to rewrite the meeting date on the GSA board at least three times a day because people keep erasing it. School is stressful enough as it is, and it’s sad that my new daily goal is to walk by one of our posters and not see it torn down or our board vandalized,” said Phoenix. 

This shows that while HB does have acceptance, there are still certain people that aren’t accepting, and they show that in ways that are unpleasant. Phoenix did comment that while the students are not always accepting, the staff and school support diversity the best they can. Phoenix has had staff come up to them and say that they support them; other staff members are trying to keep an eye on the GSA board, as well as the posters. 

Nurses Kelly and Amber, in the schools’ health office, are some of the strong supporters of acceptance. When asked what they do to help people, as health professionals, feel safe, Nurse Kelly responded with an encouraging statement. “We treat everyone as an individual, work hard on getting to know each student, and try to have meaningful conversations with each encounter. We (also) have a “safe zone” sign on our wall to make sure students know they are welcome and not judged.”

No matter what you face at HB, know that there are people that are accepting and loving that will stand behind you no matter what.