Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students
The Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students is a joint initiative between the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth*. Founded in 1993 in response to concerns about LGBTQ youth suicides and other risk factors, the program now offers a range of services designed to help schools implement state laws impacting LGBTQ students, including the state's anti-bullying law, gender identity law, and student anti-discrimination law.
Training and Technical Assistance
The Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students provides training, technical assistance, and professional development to school administrators and staff on topics related to gender identity, sexual orientation, and school climate. Requests for trainings can be submitted online, Submit a Request.
For Technical Assistance please email: Safeschoolsprogram@doe.mass.edu
The Massachusetts Gender and Sexuality Alliance Leadership Council is working to support students in developing leadership skills, making statewide connections with LGBTQ students and allies, and improving school climate.
The Safe Schools Program also houses the Massachusetts GSA Leadership Council, which supports students in developing leadership skills, making statewide connections with LGBTQ students and allies, and improving school climate. 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 five regional councils.
The Safe Schools Program manages a Massachusetts GSA Advisor Listserv, which can be accessed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student & Staff Applications Online: 2017 Massachusetts GSA Student Leadership Summit
The Massachusetts GSA Student Leadership Summit will take place August 1214, 2017 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Summit is a project of the Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students, a joint initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth.
Student Applicants: Applications are being accepted from students who will be in grades 912 during the 2017/18 school year. The Massachusetts GSA Student Leadership Summit is free to attend. All individuals who are accepted will be provided with overnight accommodations at UMass Amherst, meals and limited transportation (from select pick-up/drop-off locations throughout the state). All individuals who participate in the Massachusetts GSA Student Leadership Summit commit to being a part of the 2017-2018 Massachusetts GSA Leadership Council.
Staff Applicants: Applications are being accepted for volunteer staff members in six regions across Massachusetts: Greater Boston, Central, Northeast, Southeast, Western, and Berkshire County. To be considered for a staff position, you must have graduated from high school and live or plan to attend college in Massachusetts during the 2017-2018 school year (preferably in the region you're applying to support).
Please Note: We anticipate the 2017 Massachusetts GSA Student Leadership Summit application and selection process will be highly competitive. We encourage all applicants to take their time in filling out the application meaningfully and completely.
Memo from Commissoner Mitchell Chester
To assist districts with efforts to create safe and supportive school environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ) students, ESE and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth have created the attached document with information about technical assistance, participation in the Massachusetts Gender and Sexuality Alliance Leadership Council, and information on state laws and policies.
LGBTQ Safe and Supportive Environments Memo
Important LGBTQ Resources
Laws and Regulations
Part I, Title XII, Chapter 76, Section 5
ESE Regulations: Access to Equal Educational Opportunity
Principles for Ensuring Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for LGBTQ Students
Guidance on Supporting Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students
Guidance on Parental Notification for Bullying Based on Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity
Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students
Additional information on Massachusetts Laws and Policies
Safe Schools Program Team
Jeff Perrotti, Program Director
Jason P. Wheeler, Program Manager
Alexandria Chiu, Program Coordinator
Landon Callahan, Safe Schools Student Intern
*The Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth is established by law as an independent state agency to recommend and advocate to all branches of state government effective policies, programs, and resources for LGBTQ youth to thrive.