VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A pride assembly scheduled for Monday at Cox High School in Virginia Beach has been postponed.
Michael Berlucchi, the President of Hampton Roads Pride, said the administration decided they can’t hold a “club” event during school hours even though it was approved by the school’s principal weeks ago.
Berlucchi said the administration cancelling the event on a Sunday, just one day before it takes places, “will perpetuate existing negative stigma surrounding the LGBT community and further marginalizes already vulnerable LGBT students.”
However, school officials tell News 3 they’ve decided to postpone the event to allow more groups to get involved.
“Monday’s assembly at Cox High School has been postponed in order to give school organizers, led by school counselors, an opportunity to involve a variety of student and community groups interested in being part of the conversation about tolerance and acceptance for all people,” Eileen Cox, the Chief Media and Communications Officer, said in an email. “School administrators agree that these are important topics and wish to include as many voices in the conversation as possible. The decision to postpone was made in an effort to be more inclusive of all groups and students, not to marginalize any particular student, group or organization.
She also said it was a mistake to allow the Gay-Straight Alliance club to hold the assembly during the school day.
“Student-led club meetings and events to raise awareness about their organization or area of interest should be scheduled afterschool in order to minimize the loss of instructional time. In this instance, it was simply a mistake to allow the club to move forward with planning its event during the school day. School administrators plan to meet with the student organizers Monday to discuss this matter further and apologize for the error,” Cox said.
On Monday a School Board chairman released a statement on the matter saying in part:
We regret the confusion and disappointment generated by the postponement of the Cox High School assembly originally scheduled for today. It is important to note the School Board has not met to discuss this matter and no member of the School Board asked or directed the principal or administration to take any action, as is the case in all administrative matters. However, we do understand the rationale for the decision by the principal and school administration. It was not an effort to silence our students’ voice. In fact, the goal is to bring more people into this conversation.