According to GLSEN’s 2007 National School Climate Survey, only one-tenth of LGBTQ students were exposed to positive representations of LGBTQ people, history or events in their classes. Additionally, less than one fifth of students reported that LGBTQ related topics were included in their textbooks or other assigned readings.
Even though numerous leading professional organizations support incorporation of LGBTQ inclusive materials in school curricula, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of School Administrators, the American School Health Association and the National Association of School Social workers, LGBT history, people or events are almost nonexistent in our schools.
Schools which are characterized as safe encourage students to talk openly about safety, treat students with equal respect, help children feel safe expressing their feelings and involve families in meaningful ways.
The National Education Association (NEA) says, “A safe and effective school has a positive environment in which education employees, students, parents/guardians and the community care for, communicate with, respect, understand and trust each other. And…plans, activities and programs for education employees, students, parents/guardians and the community should be developed to…increase respect, understanding, acceptance and sensitivity toward individuals and groups in a diverse society composed of such groups as American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Blacks, Hispanics, women, GLBT persons and people with disabilities.”
Additionally, LGBT inclusiveness is mandated by the School Board of Broward County Policy 1.5 from the Diversity Committee. It states, “We believe that diversity should be promoted so that…education is enhanced in a diverse, inclusive setting. Diversity shall be defined as a broad concept that includes, gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, linguistic differences, exceptional abilities, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, variations of talents and abilities, and special needs.”
This means that teachers can and should include affirmative topics about LGBTQ persons in curriculum and classroom discussions. LGBTQ inclusiveness does not constitute a discussion about human sexuality or family life as described by Policy 6000.1 of the BCPS Family Life and Human Sexuality component.
An LGBT inclusive curricula that provides positive representations of LGBT people, history and events helps to create a tone of acceptance of LGBT people and increase the awareness of LGBT related issues, resulting in a more supportive environment for LGBT students.
GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey consistently finds that students with inclusive curricula have a greater sense of belonging in their school community, hear fewer homophobic remarks, and are less likely to be bullied, harassed or feel unsafe at school than those without inclusive curriculum. Broward County Public Schools wants all youth to stay in school and feel welcomed and valued, including this at risk minority of students.
What does a diverse curriculum that includes LGBT persons as active contributors to history, literature and events look like? Include positive representations of LGBT people, history and events. For example, when teaching about history include the persecution, struggles and resiliency of the LGBT community in units about the Holocaust and the civil rights movement.
There are many quality resources about important leaders, literature and events in LGBT history. Please see the Resources section of this website.
LGBT inclusive literature, events and the acknowledgment of diverse families can help all youth note and appreciate the positive and diverse representation of LGBT people. It is important that the visibility of LGBT people– young and older, working class and other, women and men, of color or white-identified– are not silent or hidden in the civil and critical discourse taking place in our classrooms, but instead studied as to the impact authors and history makers have had on our world.
See also our related webpages on:
- Anti-Bullying Classroom Activities
- Anti-Bullying Links and Resources
- Anti-Bullying Policy 5.9
- Bullying Prevention & Positive School Culture
- Choose Peace Stop Violence
- Day of Silence
- Violence Prevention Resources
Resources, Teaching Tools and Links
“If it’s FREE, it’s for ME!”: Look for this downloadable PDF as you scroll down the Resource page of browardprevention.org– you will find an extensive list of FREE prevention resources!
Please Note: A program or website being mentioned here does not imply endorsement by the School Board of Broward County and does not necessarily reflect its views. Please contact the program developers directly for the most current information.
Education & Teaching Tools, Observance
Glsen.org/educator: Lesson plans, curricular tools and information about LGBTQ respect, history and safety in schools
GSANetwork.org/FAIR: Lesson guides and resources about LGBTQ respect, history and safety in schools
- Anti-Defamation League has numerous and excellent resources on diversity and tolerance ADL website, Anti-Defamation League’s The Pyramid of Hate Lesson Plan as well as ADL educator’s guide and classroom lessons for responding to violence and hate.
- CDC’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health resource page
- Civil Rights Division of The Department of Justice’s released a video that focuses on stopping bullying and harassment of LGBT youth, as well as other youth who do not conform to traditional expectations about gender roles or appearance. The video is part of the Division’s “It Gets Better” project.
- Examining and Interrupting Hate: A Lesson for Grades 6–8
- The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Support Services Office at Indiana University Bloomington IN’s Important LGTBQ Dates to Remember.
- Gay Straight Alliance
- National Mix It Up at Lunch Day on Nov. 10, 2009 – see also Teaching Tolerance.
- National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), a service of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- National Resource Center for Safe Schools, The Safety Zone Safe Schools South Florida Resource Page.
- No Name Calling Week, Educational Activities against Name Calling
- Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
- Peace Corps lesson plans on peace and culture
- Registries of Programs Effective in Reducing Youth Risk Behaviors: Various federal agencies have identified youth-related programs that they consider worthy of recommendation based on expert opinion or a review of design and research evidence. These programs focus on different health topics, risk behaviors, and settings including violence.
- School Health Guidelines (CDC) to Prevent Unintentional Injuries and Violence. Students have the right to learn in a safe and protective school environment. These guidelines were designed to help education agencies and schools promote safety and make schools safe places for students to learn.
- School Health Index: The School Health Index can help schools implement school health guidelines and related strategies. This self-assessment and planning tool enables schools to identify the strengths and weaknesses of health promotion policies and programs (including violence prevention) and assists schools in developing an action plan for improving the school environment.
- School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS): The School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS) is a national survey periodically conducted to assess school health policies and practices at the state, district, school, and classroom levels. SHPPS was most recently conducted in 2006. SHPPS also was conducted in 2000 and 1994; the next SHPPS is planned for 2012. State level summaries are available on-line (the Healthy and Safe Environment and the Mental Health and Social Services sections are probably the most relevant) and as a state report card, here is the link for Florida
- The Support Group Method of bullying intervention.
- Surgeon General’s report on youth violence. This report uses a public health approach to examine the issue of youth interpersonal violence. It examines the factors that lead young people to gravitate toward violence, reviews the factors that protect youth from perpetrating violence and identifies 27 effective research-based preventive strategies.
- Teaching Tolerance – Classroom activities and teaching kits.
- “That’s so Gay!” Have you been reminding others to “Think B4 You Speak” at school or in your community? Click to View VIDEOS and/or to download the corresponding Educators Guide.
- The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS): YRBSS monitors priority health-risk behaviors among youth in grades 9-12 in public and private schools through the United States. The YRBSS includes a national school-based survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state, territorial, tribal, and local surveys conducted by state, territorial, and local education and health agencies and tribal governments. Violence-related behaviors captured by YRBSS include getting in a fight (on and off of school property), carrying a weapon (on or off of school property), carrying a gun (off of school property), being threatened or injured with a weapon on school property, feeling unsafe on the way to or from school, being the victim of forced sex, and being the victim of dating violence. CDC provides access to the data through an on-line system; OPP facilitates the administration of the YRBS every year, please go to OPP YRBS to find out more.