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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Recommendations on Safe Schools for LGBTQ Students

To:
Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
December 5, 2014

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The Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students, a joint initiative between the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth (Commission), will be making a presentation to the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education on December 16, 2014

At this meeting, we will present the updated and expanded Recommendations on the Support and Safety of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Students. The attached document provides an overview of the current status of LGBTQ students, along with the proposed recommendations.

The following four recommendations adopted by the Board of Education in 1993 have been updated to reflect current laws and policies:

  1. Schools are encouraged to develop or update policies protecting LGBTQ students from harassment, violence, and discrimination to ensure compliance with the law.
  2. Schools are encouraged to include violence and suicide prevention content related to LGBTQ students in the required training for school personnel.
  3. Schools are encouraged to offer school-based groups for LGBTQ and heterosexual students.
  4. Schools are encouraged to provide support for family members of LGBTQ students.

The following six new recommendations reflect current best practices:

  1. School districts are encouraged to designate a staff member who is proficient in issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
  2. Schools are encouraged to implement curricula that reflect gender and sexual diversity.
  3. Schools are encouraged to provide information about LGBTQ issues in school libraries and in student and faculty resource centers.
  4. Schools are encouraged to have a diverse workforce.
  5. Schools are encouraged to review their referrals to community-based services and law enforcement agencies, and to address any disparities related to LGBTQ students.
  6. School districts are encouraged to collect and analyze suspension, expulsion, bullying, and attendance data as required under current laws , and implement changes to address any disparities related to sexual orientation and gender identity.

At the meeting, you will hear personal and professional testimony from Roger Bourgeois, Superintendent Greater Lowell Regional Vocational School; Charlene Cook, Principal Hardy Elementary School; Kristina, Georgetown High School Student; and Manny Ikomi, Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational Technical School Senior.

The panel will be joined by representatives from the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth and Associate Commissioner John Bynoe to respond to your questions.

Enclosures:

Download PDF Document  Download Word Document
Recommendations on the Support and Safety of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Students


Last Updated: December 10, 2014
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