Interested in making your school safer for LGBT students? There are many ways to do this, ranging from small instructional changes to major organizational undertakings. The following tips are organized by level of action and visibility required. Decide which actions are best for your school community.
- Ask students what they need.
- Identify campus hot spots (areas with low or no adult vision).
- Assess for instructional practices that rely on binary gender identification (e.g., saying “Good morning, boys and girls.”).
- Identify allies in the school community.
- Prepare students to speaking respectfully about controversial issues.
- Stick a safe zone sticker on your office or classroom door.
- Hang a safe zone poster in your office or classroom.
- Share respected research on LGBT youth with the counseling staff.
- Implement the strategies outlined in Speak Up at School.
- Use “graffiti boards” to initiate difficult conversations. (See instructions below.)
- Create a plan to monitor campus hot spots.
- Organize and advertise a campus GSA.
- Participate in a national day of protest in support of LGBT students.
- Ask the administration to review the harassment policy for explicit LGBT inclusion.
- Hang chart paper around the classroom. Write questions at the top. (See questions below.)
- Instruct students to go to each board and read the question at the top.
- Have students write their thoughts about the question on the graffiti board.
Possible Graffiti Board Questions
- What do you think of when you hear the word “gay”?
- In what ways have you heard the word “gay” used?
- Why do you think some people do not feel safe at our school?
- What can we do to make sure our school is a place where everybody feels welcome?
[adapted from http://www.tolerance.org/impact-intent]