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:
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- Do you have a gender support plan for students who choose to transition?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?
- Has your school been made aware of 2SLGBTQ+ and, specifically, gender diverse students in your school in the past?
- Does your school have an active GSA and clear allies in the school staff?
- Is there a staff member designated to support students and families who have questions? Do they have resources to share?
- Does your school have any openly 2SLGBTQ+ staff members?
- 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?
- Do you have 2SLGBTQ+ content woven throughout all your curriculum, in all grades, for all the students?
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.For 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 https://rainbowresourcecentre.org/education/educators, so we can all work together in creating safe(r) spaces for EVERYONE!