Office of Student and Family Support

Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students

To:Superintendents; Assistant Superintendents; Charter School Leaders; Elementary, Middle and High School Principals
From:Jeff Wulfson, Acting Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education
Date:November 16, 2017

To assist you with your efforts to create safe and supportive school environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) students, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department) and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth (Commission) offer the following opportunities and information:
  1. Training and Technical Assistance

    The Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students, an initiative of the Department and the Commission, can provide your district with training and technical assistance on issues pertaining to building safe and supportive environments for LGBTQ students; meeting the needs of transgender and gender-nonconforming students; the implementation of related suicide, violence and bullying prevention efforts; and the reduction of health disparities for LGBTQ students. Please send the name and contact information of your liaison(s), GSA advisor(s), and any requests for training or technical assistance to or contact the Safe Schools Program Coordinator at 781-338-6319.

  2. The Massachusetts Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Leadership Council

    Modeled on the Student Advisory Council to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Massachusetts GSA Leadership Council provides networking and skill-building opportunities for GSA student leaders and advisors to promote student leadership and improve school climate. The GSA Leadership Council consists of a state council and six regional councils. The State GSA Leadership Council is comprised of students who attended the annual GSA Leadership Summit in August. The regional leadership councils consist of student leaders and adult advisors. State and regional council meetings take place bi-monthly from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    We invite you to register a team of up to four students and two adult advisors to join other GSA student leaders and advisors at the regional council meetings. Because the state and regional council meetings occur during school time, we ask that you support student and advisor attendance with appropriate arrangements for excused absences. On the next page you will find a list of meeting dates and locations. The following link contains additional information: Massachusetts GSA Leadership Council.

  3. Information on Federal and State Laws and Policies regarding LGBTQ Students

    The following link contains information about federal and state laws and policies regarding LGBTQ students, including information about the Massachusetts Anti-Bullying Law, the Regulations for the Student Anti-discrimination Law, the Guidance on Notifying Parents When a Student Has Been Bullied Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity/Expression, the Guidance on Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity, and the Principles for Ensuring Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for LGBTQ Students: Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students.

    In response to a number of Massachusetts school districts expressing the need for a third gender option, this past year the Department updated SIMS, EPIMS and SSDR to include a new value of nonbinary (N). This gender marker is in addition to female (F) and male (M). Nonbinary represents individuals for whom male/female does not accurately reflect their identity.

    Thank you for your continued commitment to providing a safe and supportive environment for all students. We are proud that Massachusetts is a leader in this regard and that there have been significant improvements in the past 25 years. We look forward to continuing this important work with you.

Massachusetts GSA Leadership Council Meetings 2017-2018

Greater Boston Region
Time: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant St., Malden, MA 02148
  • Wednesday, October 25, 2017
  • Tuesday, December 5, 2017
  • Tuesday, February 13, 2018
  • Tuesday, April 10, 2018
  • Wednesday, May 30, 2018
Northeast Region
Time: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Ipswich High School
134 High St., Ipswich, MA 01938
  • Tuesday, October 3, 2017
  • Tuesday, December 19, 2017
  • Wednesday February 7, 2018
Methuen High School
1 Ranger Rd., Methuen, MA 01844
  • Tuesday, April 3, 2018
  • Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Southeast Region
Time: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Oliver Ames High School
100 Lothrop St., North Easton, MA 02356
  • Thursday, October 5, 2017
  • Thursday, December 14, 2017
  • Thursday, February 15, 2018
King Philip Regional High School
201 Franklin St., Wrentham, MA 02093
  • Thursday, April 5, 2018
  • Friday, June 8. 2018
Western Region
Time: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Westfield High School
177 Montgomery Rd., Westfield, MA 01085
  • Wednesday, October 18, 2017
  • Wednesday, December 6, 2017
  • Thursday, February 8, 2018
Minnechaug Regional High School
621 Main St., Wilbraham, MA 01095
  • Wednesday, April 11, 2018
  • Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Central Region
Time: 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Millbury Jr./Sr. High School
12 Martin St., Millbury, MA 01527
  • Thursday, October 19, 2017
  • Thursday, December 7, 2017
Grafton High School
24 Providence Rd., Grafton, MA 01519
  • Thursday February 1, 2018
  • Thursday April 26, 2018
Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School
1050 Westminster St., Fitchburg, MA 01420
  • Thursday May 24, 2018
Berkshire Region
Meeting locations and dates to be determined. Given the complexity of scheduling in a central location, we will offer both in-person and remote opportunities within this region.
Statewide GSA Leadership Council
[Note: The State GSA Council consists of those students who attended the GSA Leadership Summit in August 2017 at UMASS Amherst.]
Time: 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Location: Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 75 Pleasant St., Malden, MA 02148
  • Friday September 29, 2017
  • Thursday, November 30, 2017
  • Thursday, January 25, 2018
  • Thursday, March 8, 2018
  • Thursday, May 10, 2018

Last Updated: November 16, 2017

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.