Regarding the Nov. 11 Metro article “LGBTQ books in classroom libraries divide Loudoun’s parents”:

After nearly 45 years working as a teacher and school administrator, I am dumbstruck that we are still debating whether it is appropriate for children who identify as LGBTQ to have access to materials that reflect (and perhaps save) their lives. Let’s start with the obvious: No child wakes up one morning and says, “Today I am going to present myself as another gender, because it’s really fun to be targeted by my classmates and insensitive adults.”

It’s irrelevant whether some parent is troubled by the notion “that it’s possible to be born in the wrong body.” As Hamlet would have it, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Research reveals that intersex is indeed a phenomenon, and children are at times assigned a gender at birth that in fact does not correspond to their chromosomal makeup. Even that is beside the point. No child can do her best unless she feels safe, seen, welcomed and cherished. Research has demonstrated the deep interplay between emotions and learning.

At school, all children should be welcome; they should be safe to be who they are and who they are becoming. Diversity and the experience of learning with and from others are the very ground out of which all deep learning grows. 

Kevin Barr, Washington

The writer is associate head of school at
Georgetown Day School.