School Inclusivity: 15 Questions Families Can Ask

Blog provided by Dene Guillas, School Equity & Inclusion Coordinator, Rainbow Resource Centre.

Having your loved one(s) going to a school that celebrates diversity and inclusion for all is the kind of safe and accepting environment that ALL students need to thrive in their education, not just the 2SLGBTQ+ ones.

This can help give youth the confidence to ask tough questions, challenge stereotypes, respect the beauty in differences, understand their own privileges, be a champion for others, and to just be able to be themselves and figure out where they fit.

To help your loved one(s) and yourself find a school like that, or to help your current school in creating those safe(r) spaces, here are some questions to ask:

  1. What kind of 2SLGBTQ+ training, education, workshops, etc. has your school staff received? How recently? Have all the staff taken part? Does your school host workshops for families wanting more info to be better allies to 2SLGBTQ+ youth?
  2. What is your harassment, discrimination & bullying policy regarding sexuality, gender identity, and expression? Are there clear follow-up procedures and mention of consequences? Where do you post/share that info? Do you have clear anti-cyberbullying policies that also protect 2SLGBTQ+ students?
  3. What do you believe is the school’s role in privacy and confidentiality for the student? When the family/care givers are non-affirming for the student?
  4. Do you have a gender support plan for students who choose to transition?
  5. Does your school have a gender-neutral washroom that is easily accessible to all? Are children allowed to use the washroom, change room, and showers of their choice?
  6. If your school has a dress/uniform code, are students allowed to wear what matches their gender identity? Similar for sports uniforms and swimming requirements.
  7. For sex-segregated activities, such as sports, are students able to join the group that matches their gender identity? Do you have options for mixed groups as well?
  8. With name and pronoun changes, is your school able to correct attendance sheets, nametags, paperwork, databases,etc.? If there is a substitute, will they be clearly informed beforehand?
  9. Has your school been made aware of 2SLGBTQ+ and, specifically, gender diverse students in your school in the past?
  10. Does your school have an active GSA and clear allies in the school staff?
  11. Is there a staff member designated to support students and families who have questions? Do they have resources to share?
  12. Does your school have any openly 2SLGBTQ+ staff members?
  13. Do you have posters, signs, library books, and other visual representations of all bodies, families, expressions, lived experiences, cultures, ethnicities, and other variations of diversity?
  14. Do you have 2SLGBTQ+ content woven throughout all your curriculum, in all grades, for all the students?
  15. What other changes has your school already made to be more inclusive to the 2SLGBTQ+ students, families, staff, etc.? (Pronouns on email signatures, inclusive recruitment practices, usage of gender-neutral language, referrals to 2SLGBTQ+ organizations, etc.)

If you would like more support and information for families, please call us at 204-474-0212 ext. 203 or email those families with amazing 2SLGBTQ+ youth, please visit our website www.rainbowresourcecentre.orgfor more resources and support groups. You can also check out our workshops here, so we can all work together in creating safe(r) spaces for EVERYONE!