To The Herald-Whig:
Quincy Public Schools received a few complaints about allowing the "Queer Eye" show to film a future episode at Quincy Senior High School. There was also a letter to the editor in this newspaper last week from Pastor Wallace where he stated he was "very troubled by the welcome mat being spread out for the ‘Queer Eye' staff."
I want to be clear: If you have a complaint about the "Queer Eye" show filming at Quincy High School, you should direct those complaints to me. I did consult with the Board of Education and Principal Jody Steinke prior to approval, but it was ultimately my decision.
Outside of a crazy schedule at the high school and wearing out the teachers, staff and principal, it was a very positive week for our students. The students directly involved in the production learned a great deal, and they had a great time and enjoyed the experience.
I had the honor of speaking to the grandfather of Jonathan Van Ness. He is very proud of his grandson and his work with the Fab Five on "Queer Eye." You can see a twinkle in his eyes as he talks about his grandson. Many who knew Jonathan in high school describe him as talented, outgoing and popular. Jonathan's grandfather also talks about his grandson's struggles at Quincy High School and that he left early because of bullying and intimidation because of his sexual orientation. Even though he went through that, he had the courage to follow his dreams and his passion and become very successful.
As a school administrator, it has always been my hope and goal that all students, no matter if they are black, brown or white, whether they are gay or straight, whether they are a girl or a boy, whether they have a disability or not, can come to our school to reach their potential and have fun.
We still have some bullying, harassment and racism in our schools, but having the Fab Five in our schools last week moved us one step closer to my hope that all students will be able to have a blast in Quincy Public Schools.
Thank you to the Fab Five. Your examples of respect and courage are a great example for our kids. Welcome back to Quincy, Jonathan! I hope to see you return often.
Quincy Public Schools