Teachers Wear Pins to Promote Safe Spaces

December 13, 2016

As a result of Donald Trump’s targeted statements, some faculty members have started wearing safety pins, which serve as a symbol to let students know that they are safe people to talk to. English teacher Susana Herrera introduced the idea for the pin movement at a staff meeting on November 10.

“My best friend saw something going around on Facebook that teachers had decided to wear safety pins to tell their students that they are safe in the classroom,” Herrera said. “We talked about wearing them as a lesson to tell students who are undocumented, part of different class, race, sexual orientation, religion or party to let everyone know that they are safe.”

Herrera hopes students and teachers will continue to wear the pins throughout the school year. Principal Wynne Satterwhite has endorsed the idea as a way to create safe spaces for students despite fears they may have.

“I talked to Satterwhite about it, and she liked the idea of teachers reminding their students that if they do feel unsafe, [they can] come talk to us,” Herrera said. “If there is any bullying going on, the pins remind students that we teachers, administrators and counselors are safe people to talk too.”

The pins remind students that we teachers are safe people to talk to.”

— English teacher Susana Herrera

As well as teachers, students feel that the pins are a good reminder to have at school. Originally, the pins were limited to faculty members and staff but has now caught on to a couple of Los Altos students such as sophomore Shawn Ridgway.

“I saw a post on Instagram saying to wear a safety pin after the election [to help those] who were scared that Trump was elected,” Shawn said. “I’m gay, and I wanted to let other people know that they don’t have to be scared at school and that I support everyone.”

Math teacher Andrea Sisk showed her support for the movement by wearing her safety pin on her lanyard.

“I liked how the pin was a physical representation to show students that they were safe at school,” Sisk said. “I could confirm with students that they were safe in my classroom, and it was safe to talk to me without actually having to say it.”

While teachers have expressed their support for the meaning behind the pins, junior Cinthya Fuentes felt they were unnecessary.

“I don’t think we need the safety pins,” Cinthya said. “It is kind of cool to have, but I feel safe with all my teachers, so I don’t think it’s that necessary.”

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