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Charles Finney School alumni on changing the school's policies related to LGBTQ students

Bethany Young Bushen on "Connections."
Megan Mack
Bethany Young Bushen appears on "Connections with Evan Dawson" on Friday, September 23, 2022.

A new policy at the Charles Finney School in Penfield has led to outrage among many students, families, alumni, and LGBTQ advocates. In a statement to WXXI News, Finney School President Michael VanLeeuwen said, "The promotion of alternative lifestyles on campus are not permitted as they do not support our mission as a school." The phrase "alternative lifestyles" is a slur for LGBTQ identities. The new school policy makes it clear that students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender are, in the opinion of the school, sinful in the eyes of God. It also states that teachers will not recognize students who self-identify with pronouns that deviate from their sex assigned at birth.

Since Finney is a private school, these policies appear to be protected under the law. But a group of alumni has drafted a petition, hoping to pressure the school to change. We discuss it with our guests:

  • Bethany Young Bushen, Charles Finney School Class of 2006, and ally who was involved in drafting the alumni petition
  • Jay Daigle, Charles Finney School Class of 2019
  • Carolyn Delvecchio Hoffman, alumnus of the Charles Finney School, and Monroe County Legislator, District 25
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.
Emmarae Stein is the production assistant for "Connections with Evan Dawson."