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 (DESE) 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.
The Safe Schools Program also manages the Massachusetts Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Student Leadership Council.
The Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students informs policy and 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 and technical assistance can be submitted online, Submit a Request.
The Regulations for the Massachusetts Student Rights Law (MGL Ch. 76, Sec. 5) state that "all public school systems shall, through their curricula, encourage respect for the human and civil rights of all individuals regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin or sexual orientation."
These resources will help students value the contributions of LGBTQ people and understand their place in history, literature, and other fields.
DESE Model Curriculum Units — Defending Democracy at Home: Advancing Constitutional Rights, Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) Same-Sex Marriage (Grades 11–12)
Inclusive Curriculum Materials — available from the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth and covering a variety of subjects in social studies and language arts
2021-2022 Commissioner letter to district and school leaders about the Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students
Part I, Title XII, Chapter 76, Section 5
DESE 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
Additional information on Massachusetts Laws and Policies
LGBTQ Youth Resource Map
Last Updated: September 11, 2023
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.