Los Angeles public schools are encouraging teachers and staff to wear badges that identify them as “LGBT allies” and supporters of the pro-gay movement.
Superintendent John Deasy kicked off the effort Thursday, which he said was necessary to prevent gay kids from being bullied.
“We want all our youth and staff to know that it is safe to be you in LAUSD,” said Deasy in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.
The move is part of the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center’s “Out for Safe Schools” initiative.
The front sides of the badges have the word “ally” written on them in several different languages, which will help teachers celebrate the fabulousness of gay students, gay fellow teachers, and other gays, whose gayness automatically merits universal applause and celebration. Allies are straight supporters of gay people and gay marriage.
The reverse sides of the badges include a handy list of resources available to gays and their supporters. The list handily includes the public-sector unions United Teachers Los Angeles, SEIU, and Associated Administrators of Los Angeles, allowing L.A.’s organized labor community to rejoice in the school district’s salute to gayness.
Because nothing deters bullies like having their victims’ specialness publicly praised by authority figures, the L.A. Gay and Lesbian Center applauded the school district for its “groundbreaking” work in applauding gay students.
Friday marked the beginning of the initiative, to coincide with National Coming Out Day, during which the English-speaking peoples unite in paying tribute to gays.
“Every one of L.A.’s 655,000 public school students will know and see there are adults at their school who support and care about LGBT kids,” said Alan Acosta, director of the center’s strategic initiatives, in a statement to The Los Angeles Times.
In an interview with CBS News, Deasy made clear that he wanted school staff to be not just tolerant of gay kids, but accepting.
“It is safe to be you. We are proud of who you are,” he said. “Our campuses don’t want tolerance, we want acceptance.”
L.A. schools also celebrated National Coming Out Day with a resolution of support for the 25-year-old holiday from district board member Monica Garcia.
“I am coming out in support of each and every student,” she said in a statement.
School officials did not specify what steps they would be taking to encourage teachers to extol students on the basis of their sexual orientation, nor did any local media ask about teachers who decline to join in the observance.
The district did not immediately respond to a request for comment.