Being LGBTQ in North Clackamas



Brooke Mitchelldyer, Lexi Stallcup, and Ella Lord

The North Clackamas School District strives to create an environment where people with all sexual orientations feel safe and welcome. They have published many statements supporting and encouraging diversity in the district. However, it’s important to make sure that those apart of the LGBTQ+ community feel supported by peers, administrators, and educators. 

Discussing experiences of discrimination with those of different sexual orientations was the first step to finding if they feel supported in the North Clackamas School District. Stella Vincent, a sophomore at Rex Putnam was open about sharing her story of discrimination. When she was in 7th grade, a fellow student called her an ‘f****t’ while on the bus. She reached out to the school office and they did nothing to assist her. The following day, the same student brought a knife to school and cut up her seat. Again, Stella went to the office in hopes of justice but that’s not what she received. The office ignored her again and completely disregarded the video footage and witness. The office told her that the whole situation is her fault and that homeschool is the better option for her. This is one account of bullying that LGBTQ+ students endure on the daily. Schools need to start playing an active role in situations similar to Stella’s. She believes that the school should learn all sides of the story and believe victims.

Sara McNaughton, an English teacher at Rex Putnam High School is no stranger to the LGBTQ+ community. Having a child a part of the community and being around students who also identify as LGBTQ+ she understands how to make them feel comfortable and supported in a classroom environment. Her advice is, “Treat them the same but be more careful,” because she cares about making sure that the community feels accepted. Allies can play an important part in creating safe spaces for members of the community. Ms. McNauhgton acts as an ally by creating a safe place for LGBTQ+ students so that they always feel welcomed. 

Debra Porta, the manager of Portland Pride, created an event that brings together the Portland community to celebrate diversity and its beauty. The event brings awareness of the harsh treatment that many LGBTQ+ youths endure. Though overall the city of Portland is a welcoming place for those of different sexual orientations, it seems that the culture of acceptance has not filtered its way into our schools. Porta strongly believes that there is an issue within our school walls regarding LGBTQ+ bullying. Those who hold higher power in the school should be expected to “set the tone”. The tone of no tolerance for bullying and discrimination but for acceptance. Not only should the authority in schools help create a safe environment for the LGBTQ+ youths, other students should act as allies for the community. Speaking up when hearing an insensitive joke and correcting those who said it is the first step to fixing the issue. Everyone should play a part in the welcoming culture that Portland is known for in our schools.

The North Clackamas School District has made efforts to take in regards to accepting LGBTQ+ youths. Standing with victims and creating a strict no tolerance environment are steps those of higher power in our district need to take. However, there are always people there to act as allies. Together, we can create a better tomorrow for the LGBTQ+ in the North Clackamas School District.