Beaver Area School District Superintendent Dr. Carrie Rowe came out publicly as gay during remarks given at the end of the board’s regular meeting held tonight. Rowe addressed recent controversies and vowed to continue using her position to ensure that students of all backgrounds are protected from hate.
Dr. Carrie Rowe’s Remarks In Full:
“Thank you all for coming tonight. For the visitors who are not familiar, my name is Dr. Carrie Rowe, I am the superintendent of schools.
I wanted to tell you that straight away, because it is likely the reason that some of you are here tonight. I’ve worked in education for 20 years. I have never addressed my personal life because it’s never been relevant to my job. To be honest, it’s still not relevant. However, there’s a very vocal minority in this community who have decided to take my sexuality and use it as a cudgel against me.
Last week I was made aware that a group of people were planning to protest my continued employment in this district because I was allegedly firing Christians to promote a homosexual agenda. So let’s be clear tonight about what my agenda is. My agenda is to provide a safe environment for all students, including students who identify as part of the LGBTQ community.
The Beaver Area School District will continue to provide a safe space for all such students, and the community should exercise caution here, because these students are listening tonight. They’re reading your Facebook posts, and your posts on news articles, and they’re listening to your not-so-private conversations. They’re at an age when they’re trying to figure out who they are, and they don’t need adults in positions of authority to tell them that who they are is in some way abnormal or wrong.
According to the Center for Disease Control, suicide is one of the top three causes of death for individuals ages 10 to 24. And of those students, LGBTQ identifying students are at a seven times greater risk for suicide. That’s what’s at stake when you make your reckless comments. And that’s why I’m speaking out here today.
What’s happening to me is a form of bullying, plain and simple. These individuals are trying to bully me out of a job that I love because legally, they can. The fact is that in Pennsylvania, I can be fired simply for being gay. There are no civil rights protections for gay individuals in Pennsylvania.
The other frightening thing about this situation is the brazen way in which it is being carried out. Five years ago, these people would need to trump up some job related reasons for my termination, and hide the real motivation that they seek to have me dismissed as the superintendent. And that’s the other reason that I’m speaking out here today.
I am calling on members of the Pennsylvania legislature to finally do the right thing and make it illegal for a vocal minority, a minority group who seeks input from as far away as Texas, to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. It’s time to make LGBTQ persons a protected class so that this type of misguided coup never happens again to another public official.
I care about this district and about all of our students, and I care too much to remain silent any longer.
And now I speak directly to the students of the Beaver Area School District. As your superintendent, I tell you, no matter who you are, who you love, where you worship, if you worship, what your racial background is, what your disability status is, you have a safe space here. I will make no room for hate.”
– Dr. Carrie Rowe
BeaverCountian.com’s John Paul contributed to this report.