The Department of Education (ED) released an LGBTQ toolkit in June for schools and wider districts to create an “inclusive” environment, encouraging the creation of student clubs centered around Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSA).
The ED’s “Toolkit for Creating Inclusive and Nondiscriminatory School Environments for LGBTQI+ Students” aims to provide school districts and wider areas with sample policies and practices they can adopt to create a “safe and supportive” environment for LGBTQ students. The toolkit encourages schools to hold student-led GSA clubs for kids to discuss “LGBTQI+ issues” and encourages the use of “gender-neutral language.”
“The U.S. Department of Education (Department) recognizes that student-led groups can be an important part of creating safe, inclusive and supportive educational environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) students and students with LGBTQI+ parents, friends, or family members,” the toolkit states. “The Department offers this resource to provide information about the rights students have to form and participate in Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs) and other similar groups.”
The toolkit states that having a GSA creates a “safer” environment and that the school district must allow the club to be held under federal law. (RELATED: ‘Dirty Books’: Librarian Org Celebrates Efforts To Keep Pornographic Books In Schools)
The toolkit encourages schools and wider districts to use “gender-neutral” language, such as “parents or guardians” rather than “mother and father. School districts should also create “supportive spaces,” such as a GSA club, for LGBTQ students and protect them from “book bans” as they create a “hostile environment,” the toolkit states.
“Updating school policies and forms to use gender-neutral terms (e.g., referring to ‘parent or guardian’ and ‘siblings’ rather than ‘mother and father’ or ‘brothers and sisters’) can ensure that LGBTQI+ parents can fully participate in their children’s education and can help all types of families feel welcome,” the toolkit shows.
Throughout the country, lawmakers, school districts and parents are weighing gender identity and sexual orientation curriculums in schools; in California, a school board unanimously voted to adopt a resolution which encourages schools to adopt LGBTQ-focused lessons, just days after parents protested the proposed materials. Maryland parents pushed back against a school board that refused to allow them opt their child out of lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation.
The toolkit comes as the ED held the presentation titled “Creating Inclusive and Nondiscriminatory School Environments for LGBTQI+ Students” on June 21, which featured several panels that discussed how to create more “inclusive” environments within schools. One student on a panel, a transgender eighth grader, advocated for hormones and discussed reporting students who “dead-name” others.
The ED did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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