Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims, as well as all members of the LGBTQ community and their allies. The echo of these shots have been heard across the country and around the world. It is a sound that will not soon be forgotten.
The recent tragedy in Orlando, Florida has highlighted the deprivation of tolerance that still exists in our society. The intersectionality of education with our societal issues is one that can not be ignored as we call upon fellow educators to recognize and embrace our role in shaping future generations towards creating an inclusive space that will be safe and free of oppression.
To provide an inclusive, safe environment in which all students can learn, it is imperative that the rights of members of the LGBTQ community be recognized and protected at all levels, student, educator, or school staff professional. As bullying initiatives have highlighted in recent years, safety is the number one right of all within a school. However, in spite of these efforts, members of the LGBTQ community are still being intimidated and harassed.
To strive for an environment that is inclusive for all students, we urge all educators to:
- Include activities and lessons that teach and promote tolerance.
- Work to make school bullying policies include language that specifically protects gender nonconforming students.
- Create/build/support a GSA club at school.
- Offer students the support they need to make their preferred gender identity known. Use their preferred pronoun and name while also respecting their privacy rights and possible need for confidentiality.
- Advocate for diversity training for all members of the staff and administration.
- Work to make sure all after school activities and events are inclusive.
- Advocate for the designation of gender neutral restrooms.
To strive for an environment that is inclusive for all staff, we urge all educators to:
- Advocate for diversity training for all members of staff.
- Advocate for a review of the district’s workplace harassment guidelines to include language that protects members of the LGBTQ community.
- Know the procedures for reporting workplace harassment and intimidation within your district, and make others aware of these procedures.
- Use a person’s preferred name and pronoun.
- Act to designate gender neutral faculty restrooms.
- Speak with legislators and work to eliminate any laws that allow for the dismissal of employees that identify as a member of the LGBTQ community as well as any laws that are discriminatory of members of the LGBTQ community
It is through education that our future society can become one that is tolerant and inclusive of all people. It is our responsibility to become purposeful and intentional in our profession to build towards that goal. Once again, we offer our sincere thoughts of peace to all those in the LGBTQ community who are suffering at this time.