I’m here today because I am gay, and because maybe I can make a difference to help others have an easier and a more hopeful time….I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission…I suffered for years, My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain. — Canadian Actress Ellen Page —
SAN DIEGO, California — Created in the spring of 2015 to ensure equity and advocacy for all students, San Diego Unified School District’s new Office of Youth Advocacy recently outlined a long-term strategic plan to address the needs of an ever-increasingly diverse student body across the district.
The plan offers ways to close current achievement gaps and focuses on cultural proficiency; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) training and support; restorative practices; ethnic studies; civic collaboration, and substance use prevention.
“Public education has, for decades, tackled some tough issues around equity and around ensuring pathways of success for all students – LGTBQ students, students of color, and those with socio-economic challenges, language barriers or disabilities,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten in a press release. “We’re making a promise to students to deliver on equity and it’s not just our words but our actions that will deliver on this promise.”
Marten said the Office has also worked with the district’s Safe Schools Task Force as well as other community groups to gather solutions to existing issues.
“We are now ready to expand our implementation of these important and agreed-upon solutions in a systemic, coherent, systematic, focused effort. We will continue to work with our community agencies and partners in supporting our long-term plans,” Marten said.
Highlights of the new plan, which will go into effect 2015-16, include: Revisions to the district’s anti-bullying awareness policy; annual launch of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education (GLSEN) School Climate Survey at all secondary schools; to provide benchmark data for current students; training for all district employees around LGTBQ issues and for compliance with and understanding of Seth’s Law, the FAIR Education Act, and the School Success and Opportunity Act, and to assist with providing resources to students including Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) student clubs and the National Equity Project (NEP); and more.
“We are absolutely committed to providing safe, supportive, and inclusive school environments for all students,” said Board President Marne Foster. “I am thrilled and look forward to action plans being implemented for mandatory LGTBQ training for all staff and some of these dramatic things we are doing to support LGTBQ students, including our commitment to having a dedicated staff member focusing on LGTBQ students and improved bullying reporting procedures,” said Board Trustee Kevin Beiser.
Article By Gay San Diego Staff – August 21st, 2015
For additional information on the Office of Youth Advocacy, please contact Dr. R. Vernon Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619-260-5433 – (Editor’s note: This post was originally published on SDGLN media partner Gay San Diego.)