WASHINGTON — D.C. is among the school districts across the country that will adopt a pilot program designed to improve the safety of LGBT students.
The Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles LGBT Center in October 2013 launched the OUT for Safe Schools initiative that trains staff on how to make what a press release described as “schools safer for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) students.”
The press release said more than 30,000 teachers and staff within the Los Angeles Unified School District have undergone the training and wear rainbow badges that “proudly identify themselves as LGBTQ allies and protectors of students who are LGBTQ.” The program will now expand to the nation’s capital along with Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego and Duval County in Florida.
“Safe school climates and supportive adults are key to keeping LGBTQ youth in schools and out of the juvenile justice system,” said Geoffrey Winder, co-executive director of the GSA Network, which is also involved in the program. “Trans and queer youth who feel valued, important, and supported by out teachers, administrators, and staff are more likely to feel personally connected to school, invested in their own education and, ultimately, to reach out for help if they may need it.”