Bring Inclusive Schools Training To Your School
OFC's Education Team has offered outstanding, practical workshops to hundreds of educators and school community members across the state. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about how we can help support your school.
Help Your School Become More Welcoming And Inclusive
The key to success lies in building healthy and effective collaborations between LGBTQ families, and cisgender and straight parents, teachers, and school administrators. Below are some positive steps to support LGBTQ families in school communities.
In Student and Family Interactions
• Learn what children call each parent/caregiver; use that language when referring to their families
• Learn how families talk about their family structure, including how it was formed
• Never "out" a student as having an LGBTQ parent or parents unless they share this themselves
Implement LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum
• Address family diversity, gender roles, stereotyping, & bullying with the Welcoming Schools Guide/other resources
• Have staff development training, providing tools to teach curriculum and answer questions
• Include after school staff in trainings
• Include a special unit to directly address bias, stereotyping and bullying against LGBTQ people
• View "What Can We Do? Bias, Bullying, and Bystanders," a film geared towards using welcoming and inclusive curriculum for a diversity of identities (www.welcomingschools.org)
• Conduct a student survey on bullying and teasing to get a sense of what kids see, hear and feel
• Incorporate LGBTQ content into school climate work
Include LGBTQ People and Families in General Curriculum
• Have representational materials in the classroom and common areas: posters, books, etc.
• Include LGBTQ families in storytelling, imaginary play, etc.
• Include appropriate examples of diverse family structures (e.g. 2 moms, grandparents, signgle dad, adopted, etc.) in classroom examples, math word problems, etc.
• Include LGBTQ identities when teaching about historic figures
• Create activities such as "Family Day" (instead of Mothers/Fathers Day), that are more inclusive for children with LGBTQ parents, single parents, or guardians (e.g. being raised by grandparents/foster care)
School and District Policy
• Make school forms inclusive with gender neutral language: "parent/guardian" instead of "mother/father"
• Send letters home to "families" instead of "mother/father"
• Develop a robust anti-bias/anti-bullying policy that is a part of the school culture, specifically naming sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity as protected groups
• Ensure district has procedures in place to address complaints of harassment/bullying should they occur
• Ensure parents and students are aware of procedures for addressing complaints of harassment/bullying
Educate Yourself About California Laws Regarding LGBTQ Individuals and Families and Schools
Education Laws and Policies [PDF download]: this download provides a quick overview of Education Law and Policies in California that apply to LGBTQ students.
Many laws have been established to protect our students and give educators the ability and responsibility to address issues of diversity in the classroom. The following is a summarized version of the rights and responsibilities in California that explicity, but not exclusively, affect LGBTQ individuals and families.
• Teachers and school employees are mandated by law to protect students from harassment with regards to actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation. If a school employee witnesses such harassment they must intervene. (AB537 & AB9)
• Students have a right to privacy about personal information regarding sexual orientation and gender identity. School employees are mandated to protect this information and cannot share it with the student's guardians/parents without the student's consent. (CA Constitution & AB537)
• Guardians/Parents do not have to be specially notified about education on LGBTQ topics and educators do not have to ask permission to talk about such subjects. Notification is only given if the lesson involves descriptions of human reproductive organs and their functions. (SB71 & AB537)
• Guardians/Parents and students do not have the right to opt out of diversity curriculum or training designed to promote safety and equality for LGBTQ people, even if objections are religiously based. (AB537)
• Rules that apply to one gender must apply to all genders and must be enforced consistently. (Title IX & AB1266)
• Students should be recognized by the gender identity with which they identify and should be addressed with their preferred gender pronouns. Schools are required to provide accommodations for these students' restroom and locker room needs. (Title IX)
• If a school receives federal funding and allows any group that is not related to school curriculum to meet and use school facilities, such as a club, then it must provide the same access to groups they may deem controversial, such as a Gay-Straight Alliance. (Equal Access Act)
• Schools must include the accurate portrayal of the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in social science instruction when adopting new instructional materials. Portrayal of LGBT individuals or groups that promote discriminatory bias is prohibited. (SB48)
• Students cannot be unfairly excluded from physical education, athletic teams, or any other school activity or facility based on their gender identity. Schools must allow students to participate in sports teams and P.E. classes as their affirmed gender. (Title IX & AB1266)
• Schools must adopt a policy that prohibits discrimination pertaining to gender identity, gender
expression, and sexual orientation. This must include procedures for filing complaints and a timeline for how these complaints will be investigated. (AB9)
Above information in PDF form: School Legal Responsibilities.
Additional Reports & Resources
California Speaks on Fair School Funding! (PDF)
Check out the Nov 25, 2013 Final Report of the School Success Express that was submitted to the California Board of Education. Highlights include:
- The importance of accountability for how decisions are made, money is spent and progress is measured
- The need for major improvements in how school leaders engage with parents and caregivers
- The need for well-maintained and well-equipped schools to support learning and health
Click here to read the full report - Health Happens in Schools (PDF)