It’s Friday and I’m out of class today!
“Why?” you ask. Because I’m at a county presentation and professional development session covering LGBTQ+ inclusiveness, something very important to me. I strive to make my environment a safe space for my students and all the members of the community, but there’s always more to learn and there are always ways to improve our communication.
Some helpful things I’d like to share for us all:
Another point is the legal requirements of California public schools,
- The first is the Fair Education Act:
a California law which compels the inclusion of the political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people into educational textbooks and the social studies curricula in California public schools by amending the California Education Code. It also revises the previous designation of “black Americans, American Indians, Mexicans, Asians, [and] Pacific Island people” in that list into “Native Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and European Americans“. It would also amend an existing law by adding sexual orientation and religion into a list of characteristics (which already includes race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, and disability) that schools are prohibited from sponsoring negative activities about or teaching students about in an adverse way.
- Next is AB 537:
the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, changed California’s Education Code by adding actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing nondiscrimination policy. State law says that “‘gender’ means sex, and includes a person’s gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.” The nondiscrimination policy also prohibits harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex, ethnic group identification, race, ancestry, national origin, religion, color, or mental or physical disability.
There are others, please take a moment to look at what your rights are as a student, or the rights of your child at the California Department of Education website. To break down the two laws above: One, history classes/textbooks must include LGBTQ contributions, and two, all school staff are required to take action if a student is using language or bullying another student with anti-inclusive behavior regardless of the student’s gender expression or gender identity, i.e. “That’s (You’re, They’re) gay,” or, “No homo.”
Lastly, please come speak with me or another teacher or staff member if you have any concerns or thoughts. There are resources out there to help students who may have questions and need someone to talk to. You’re not alone.