School board member apologizes for Facebook post

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Williams shared link to ‘offensive’ message without reading it

By Gabrielle Porter

A school board member who publicly shared a link on Facebook calling for parents to protest Friday’s LGBT Day of Silence said she didn’t read the post before sharing it and feels “sickened” over its message.

Board member Julie Williams shared a link April 15 from ultraconservative campaign website SaveCalifornia.com that urged parents across the U.S. to keep their kids home from public schools to protest “perverse indoctrination” by “sexually confused” students and teachers.

The Day of Silence, endorsed by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is meant to bring attention to anti-LGBT bullying in schools, according to the event’s website. Participants remain silent throughout the day to illustrate “the silencing effect of bullying and harassment on LGBT students,” according to the site.

Williams said Friday afternoon she wanted parents to be informed about the Day of Silence and didn’t realize the post was offensive. The article is no longer linked to Williams’ public page.

“I didn’t realize it was so offensive,” Williams said of the SaveCalifornia.com article. “I feel so bad; I sincerely apologize to anybody I offended.”

Williams said she’d heard about the Day of Silence from concerned parents, and wanted to let parents know that it was happening.

“I saw that posting and thought this must be it, but I never really read it,” she said. “People have the freedom to choose who they are and who they want to be.”

The school district’s official position on the Day of Silence supports students’ right to participate.

“As Jeffco Schools always strives to foster an environment that encourages students to feel safe, to learn, and to thrive, we respect students' rights to participate in Day of Silence, a student-led effort, and to express themselves as they prefer,” the district website says. “We will celebrate freedom from bullying.”

Mountain area schools were closed April 17 due to weather.

Contact Gabrielle Porter at gabrielle@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042.