Protect Trans & Queer Kids: A Roundup of Writing about the Crisis at ARMS

Much of my work in children’s literature is devoted to writing and advocating for inclusive books that represent diverse family structures, including queer families (however we might define ourselves). This work is personal given my own family’s lived experience, and as the old saying goes, the personal is political. Here’s what that means for me right now:

Over the past few months, I’ve gotten involved in local activism around a serious crisis at the Amherst Regional Middle School that instigated a Title IX investigation. In a small-world sort of way, one of the students directly impacted by the events that led to this investigation is from a family who attended storytimes at The Carle when I worked there; one of the student reporters (now 18) who broke the story about the crisis in the ARHS newspaper, The Graphic, also attended my storytimes there with her family; I saw several other former storytime parents at a recent rally; and one of the organizers helping to lead actions to address the crisis was a storytime mom, too. I’ve been imagining myself back to our storytimes in the Reading Library at The Carle, wondering if all of us were ever in that same space at the same time, together, gathered around the rug, sharing books together. In this moment, I am certainly very grateful that we are all together now as we call on the Amherst Regional School Committee for transparency, accountability, and equity so that our community, and especially those directly impacted, can heal.

I offer this space on my blog to compile links, starting here with the link to the site that houses videos and minutes from School Committee meetings. Below is a story published in the ARHS student newspaper, The Graphic, which exposed a terrible pattern of harm visited upon queer and trans students at ARMS. I hope this roundup will help others get up to speed on the events as they’ve unfolded so far. Please note that I do not personally endorse all of the statements included in the pieces below. Any errors in attribution and chronology are my own, and I will make necessary changes for accuracy in those areas should anyone alert me of them. I am not sure I will be able to keep up with future posts and pieces as the situation continues to evolve, but this is a start as of July 31, 2023. Please let me know if a link doesn’t work, and please note that some sources may be behind a paywall, though I tried to find workarounds for those in many cases.

*******The Graphic‘s story from May 9, 2023: ‘It’s life or death’: failure to protect trans kids at ARMS a systemic problem ********

Other coverage, in roughly chronological order, starting in April 2023 follows. Scroll DOWN to see the most recent pieces I’ve listed: