LGBTQ+ Students Find Safe Space in School
School safety extends beyond the physical measures that campuses have in place. In order for a student to truly feel safe, they need to experience a safe, welcoming environment.
In addition to academic learning, schools can offer students an escape from abuse at home, discrimination due to sexuality or race, or overcoming trauma. Unfortunately, those things find a way to trickle in and the LGBTQ+ community is one that has historically faced high rates of bullying and harassment as a result.
According to research from GLSEN:
- 92% of LGBTQ+ students in Texas regularly heard “gay” used in a negative way.
- 85% of LGBTQ+ students in Texas regularly heard negative remarks about gender expression.
- 73% of LGBTQ+ students in Texas regularly heard negative remarks about transgender people.
- Nearly half of LGBTQ+ students in Texas regularly heard school staff make negative remarks about someone’s gender expression.
To help combat these issues, the National OUT for Safe Schools® Campaign was created to encourage school staff to publicly identify as supportive LGBTQ allies on campus. An OUT for Safe Schools® ally is someone who advocates for the safety, inclusion, and celebration of LGBTQ+ individuals.
Uplift Education, a Dallas-based, tuition free charter school network, is proud to be a participating district in the OUT for Safe Schools® program. This lets our students know that “safe spaces” aren’t limited to the classroom, but extend to anywhere there is an adult wearing this badge. Staff participating in the campaign are trained to identify and intervene in situations of bullying or harassment.
“We offer training to be a certified ally and receive a badge. We also have optional Continuous Learning opportunities such as our Speaker Series and our Schoology course platform that have a wealth of information,” said Kayla Stovall, Prevention Specialist at Uplift Education. “For the 2022-2023 school year we already have in-person OUT for Safe schools training dates set and a tiered system to incentivize allies to become more active on campus.”
Additionally, Uplift’s partner, Ntarupt, (North Texas Alliance to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy in Teens) makes an effort to have an inclusive framework when teaching students comprehensive sex education through the Positive Prevention Plus curriculum. Among other things, students learn about healthy relationships and protection methods for both cyst-gender people and same sex couples.
Uplift Education continues to be a proud, supportive ally for all children which in turn helps to ensure that LGBTQ+ students and their families feel welcomed and affirmed at Uplift schools. To learn more, visit uplifteducation.org.