Supportive Schools for LGBTQ+ Students: A Guide to Policies and Best Practices, provides recommendations for schools that are seeking to create safe and supportive educational environments for all of their students, including students who identify as LGBTQ+. These guidelines may also help schools and school districts comply with Title IX and other federal laws.
This guide is written for anyone who shapes or is affected by policy and practices at K-12 public, private, and charter schools in the United States, with a particular focus on schools in the Southeast. Administrators and school board members are encouraged to use it as a guide to crafting or revising school and district policies. Students, family members, teachers, and other school staff are encouraged to use it as a ‘know your rights’ resource and as a tool for advocacy with a school or district.
The guide is divided into several sections, based on the most common concerns and questions received by the Supportive Schools team at the Campaign for Southern Equality. Each topic includes a summary recommendation on that topic, followed by sample policy language, additional background information, and links to other resources. Specific areas of policy and practice include:
- Safety, Harassment, And Bullying
- Names And Pronouns
- Documents And Records
- Restrooms And Facilities
- Gender Transitions
- Gender Support Plans
- Dress Codes
- Sports And Athletics
- Gender In School And Classroom Activities
- Inclusive Curriculums
- Staff Training And Cultural Responsiveness.
- Social And Emotional Support
White, C., Shuler, A., Williams, B. (2022). “Supportive Schools for LGBTQ+ Students: A Guide to Policies and Best Practices.” Campaign for Southern Equality: Asheville, NC.
Craig White, MSW • Co-Author • Supportive Schools Director • Campaign for Southern Equality
Abby Shuler, MSW • Co-Author • Social Work Intern, 2022 • Campaign for Southern Equality
Benny Blue Williams • Co-Author • Social Work Intern, 2022 • Campaign for Southern Equality
Meera J. Shah, ScB, EdM • Proofreading and Editing Support
Adam Polaski • Layout & Design • Communications Director • Campaign for Southern Equality
About the Supportive Schools Program
Every school, every home, and every community should give every child the message that they are safe, respected and loved for exactly who they are. The Campaign for Southern Equality’s Supportive Schools Program provides training, policy guidance, and assessment services to assist schools in becoming more inclusive and welcoming for students of every sexual and gender identity. Through the program, CSE also advises and advocates on other LGBTQ youth-related issues and policies, and supports the formation and networking of school GSA’s and other youth organizations.
Additional Resource: Know Your Rights and How to Fight for Them
Schools should be safe places where every student is treated with respect and receives a quality education. And yet, in 2021 and 2022 schools were once again being dragged into the culture wars, even as they faced real challenges related to being under-resourced, under-staffed, and grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. Against that backdrop, it is critical that LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty know your rights under the law and how to stand up for them. This series of blog posts, published in January 2022, shares insight for students, faculty/staff, and administrators.
Guidance and Resources for Students
All students are protected by Title IX from discrimination at school based on your gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. This post walks through what students should do if they are facing discrimination at school you have the power to stop it, including what steps to take to fight for your rights.
Guidance and Resources for Faculty & Staff
School district employees have the same Title IX protections as students, and are also protected by Title VII from employment discrimination based on your actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. This post walks through what faculty & staff should do if they are facing discrimination at school.
Guidance and Resources for Faculty & Staff
Administrators who are employed by the school district have all the rights and protections described in the faculty section. Additionally, administrators, school board members and other policy makers have a critical role to play in preventing and addressing discrimination and harassment. This guide walks through rights and responsibilities for school administrators with regard to LGBTQ+ dignity and equality.