Guest editorial: We can talk about Welcoming Schools, but let’s do it with the facts

Lara Valdes-Postula
Park City

What began as an innocent intention to do what’s best for our children turned into weeks of ugly back and forth emails from an anonymous group of mothers at Trailside Elementary school. This is a group some might say feel more comfortable dictating non-factual information than starting a mature open-minded debate. It’s a group some may consider bigots, or fearing diversity in a world that is ever changing. Here is how the Welcoming Schools nightmare began.

Carolyn Synan, the Trailside principal, sent a welcome-back-to-school note to parents that included this paragraph.

“I’m excited to announce the Trailside Staff will be going through professional development the next few years, called Welcoming Schools … for more information please go to the following website: I am also happy to answer any questions.”

If you click on that, this is what you’ll see:

“… The nation’s premier professional development program providing training and resources to elementary school educators to embrace family diversity, create LGBTQ and gender inclusive schools, prevent bias based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students.”

And this is what was sent out as spam by this anonymous group a few weeks later:

“Are you aware of what our schools intend to teach our Pre-K through 5th grade students about sex? … Welcoming Schools is a program that will teach our elementary-aged children subject matter that we feel is not age-appropriate and is anti-science. … It’s an LGBTQ indoctrination program and sex education program funded by the Human Rights Campaign. … One would be foolish to believe that this is a simple anti-bullying program that makes schools welcome to ‘all.’ This program … teaches children as young as four years old about homosexual marriage and human sexuality, as well as gender fluidity.”

Huh? Ok, so wait…

How did a Utah approved, anti-bullying campaign, geared towards training TEACHERS, somehow turn into sex education for elementary kids? Does anyone truly believe that the school district would allow one principal to implement this? Does anybody else feel that perhaps a few steps were skipped here? After more nasty emails were sent, I chose to speak out in support. Here is part of my email:

“Everything that I have seen and read about Carolyns’ vision of WS, seems practical, logical. … If this is an LGBTQ focused curriculum, and you are not a ‘bigot’ or you have a ‘live and let live’ attitude (your words) then your focus must be about … what is deemed an appropriate teaching tool in the schools for educating (children) about a man loving another man, a woman loving another woman, a teenager feeling that they were born as the wrong gender etc. … Why the angry emails hiding behind an anonymous signature? Why are you ‘blind CC’ing’ everyone so that it’s impossible to ‘Reply All’ and voice one’s opinion? Why is this not a group that simply wants to open up a dialogue in a public forum … in a mature and intelligent fashion?”

My letter was much longer, and yes I signed my name to it. Three days later, Carolyn Synan and Jill Gildea were served cease-and-esist letters supported by the Pacific Justice Institute. You’ll be shocked at what you’ll find if you dig deeper on that group. So much for opening up a mature conversation!

Note: please visit to read a beautifully written statement regarding the church’s position on Welcoming Schools. They don’t have one!

So here’s the Bottom line … let’s talk about this. Let’s behave as educated, loving adults that want the best for our kids! We need to get the TRUTH out to our community about Welcoming Schools and what it actually encompasses, because at this point, it’s been portrayed with lies.

Email to get the full versions of all emails, and letters. We’ll answer any questions you have, with nothing but the facts!

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