June 7, 2022 – “Regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, every student should feel safe in every one of our schools every day.”
That is the first sentence in the introduction to the “Support for LGBTQ+ Students” section of a new comprehensive student support guide scheduled for completion this summer.
In addition to guidance for supporting LGBTQ+ students, the comprehensive guide will provide staff with a single resource for meeting state and local regulatory requirements in various school scenarios such as exceptional student services, bullying reports, and crisis interventions.
The support guide affirms the district’s commitment to supporting LGBTQ+ students while meeting the guide’s primary purpose to provide clear, concrete direction to school-based staff.
“I want to be crystal clear that our support for students who identify as LGBTQ+ has not wavered,” said Superintendent Dr. Diana Greene. “My full expectation is that our LGBTQ+ children are emotionally and physically safe in our schools, and that our school staff are prepared to address any circumstance while respecting the rights and dignity of all students.”
The new guide will reflect changes to district procedure in response to Florida’s new Parental Rights in Education law. While the new law contains requirements for parental notification, it does not undermine the commitment to supporting LGBTQ+ students in both practice and policy.
For example, the district’s commitment against bullying is enshrined in the School Board’s Anti-Bullying Policy 10.20. The policy includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as classes that are protected against bullying.
Additionally, the District’s Non-Discrimination Policy 10.10 prohibits discrimination and harassment in our schools based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The District’s Equity Policy 1.22 provides similar protections.
“Consolidating training and guidance documents for staff shouldn’t reflect on our commitment to supporting students,” said Dr. Greene. “The proof is in our actions, and we will continue to do all we can to help students thrive.”
The full student support guide is expected to be completed at the end of June.