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Opinion | MCAA students are traumatized

The truth is that candidates running false, harmful, and hateful political ads are exploiting young people and making an already marginalized community.

Magic City Acceptance Academy

Enough of the false information and plain old lies being spread by candidates for elected public office in Alabama. Political candidates in Alabama are intentionally purveying harmful and threatening misinformation about Magic City Acceptance Academy for self-serving political gain. Let me correct the record: MAGIC CITY ACCEPTANCE ACADEMY IS NOT A “TRANSGENDER SCHOOL,” period. We are a school that serves students who have been marginalized in their previous educational experiences for a variety of reasons. Our mission statement is as follows:

The Magic City Acceptance Academy facilitates a community in which all learners are empowered to embrace education, achieve individual success, and take ownership of their future in a brave, LGBTQ-affirming learning environment.

We are accepting and affirming of students and learners of all backgrounds, and we specifically state that we are a brave and affirming space for the LGBTQ community.

For the life of me, I cannot understand anyone who would seek public office with a Christian agenda but tell flat-out lies while using innocent children as pawns to state that our teachers and leaders are exploiting and abusing children.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Our teachers teach math, science, reading/language arts, social studies and history, along with music, art, theater and world language in an environment that is inclusive, trauma sensitive, and restorative.

MCAA follows the guidelines and standards established/mandated by the Alabama State Department of Education.

We do not teach an LGBTQ agenda. What we do teach is tolerance, acceptance, and collaborative practices to assure that all voices are heard and acknowledged.

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The truth is that candidates running false, harmful, and hateful political ads are exploiting young people and making an already marginalized community feel less worthy as humans simply because they are different. Said another way, it appears that adults are bullying children for personal political gain.

To date, no candidate has reached out to Magic City Acceptance Academy asking for a tour or for accurate information about who we are and the students that we serve.

I stand proud as the founding principal of the Magic City Acceptance Academy, and I am also a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community. I am proud that our staff and wonderful teachers are navigating the trauma our students have experience and leading them to brighter academic futures and hopefully adults who contribute positively to the greater good of all of us.

Many of our students were marginalized in some way where they previously attended school. Marginalization can occur for many reasons, for instance, based on race, ethnicity, and country of origin. I am dismayed that we, as a nation of immigrants, are capable of such intolerance to others who are simply seeking a better life in our country.

I have always heard that hate and intolerance are not innate qualities, but rather learned emotions and behavior that come from the environment around children. With the political ads that are currently running, children see multiple times daily that apparently hate and intolerance and attacking others is OK.

I may be gay, but I am human.

I may be gay, but I have rights

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I may be a trans person, but I am human

I may be a trans person, but I have rights

I may be and immigrant, but I am human

I may be an immigrant, but I have rights

I may be a person of color, but I am human

I may be a person of color, but I have rights

I am a Christian, but the God I serve and the Christ I know would be angry at the rhetoric that you are purporting in your political ads.

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Michael Wilson is founding principal of the Magic City Acceptance Academy, a public charter school in Alabama.

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