Community Advocacy: How to be an Advocate for LGBTQ Youth

Name, Preferred Gender Pronouns (PGPs), & role What do you hope to get out of today’s training?

Ground Rules

Try On: try on new processes, ideas, perspectives before automatically rejecting them because they are different than your experience. Be willing to step outside your comfort zone. Confidentiality: Anything said here of a personal nature cannot be shared outside of this room without the person’s consent. What’s said here, stays here. Take Space/Make Space: If we’ve been sharing too much, MAKE SPACE and turn the stage over to someone else who hasn’t had the chance to shine yet. If you haven’t been participating much, TAKE SPACE.

GSA Network

Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a youth leadership organization that connects school-based Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) to each other and community resources through peer support, leadership development, and training. GSA Network supports young people in starting, strengthening, and sustaining GSAs and builds the capacity of GSAs to:

 

create safe environments in schools for students to support each other and learn about homophobia, transphobia, and other oppressions, educate the school community about homophobia, transphobia, gender identity, and sexual orientation issues, and fight discrimination, harassment, and violence in schools.

American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California
 

The American Civil Liberties Union is a national organization est. 1927 Work to defend and preserve the rights of all people, as guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Our mission is to defend civil liberties and rights in the U.S. Active in a wide variety of issues (Workers’ Rights, Immigrants’ Rights, Privacy, Economic Justice, Racial Justice, Human Rights, etc.) Over 500,000 members, active in all 50 states that help support our work


Goals and Objectives

Gain a deeper understanding of sexual orientation and gender Gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of LGBTQ terms

What does LGBTQ mean?

LGBTQ includes all individuals and communities who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender or those who are questioning their sexual orientation and/or gender identity Other acronyms: GLBTQ, LGBTQQIA

Who are we talking about?

   

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning

Sexual Orientation: refers to an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions. Also refers to a person’s sense of identity based on those attractions. Gender Identity: Personal, deeply-felt sense of being male, female, something other or in between

Youth: Ages 24 and under





Sex refers to a person’s biological sex.

Intersex is atypical combinations of physical features that usually distinguish male from female.  Sex is made of (but not limited to):


Genes Secondary

sex characteristics Internal reproductive organs External genitalia





Gender is how a person identifies.

Transgender, Genderqueer & GNC
Transgender can be used as an umbrella term for all persons whose gender identity is different from the sex they were assigned at birth and/or whose gender expression is non-stereotypical.

 “-ed”

can be offensive

Genderqueer and gender nonconforming people who may not necessarily identify as man or woman; they might not identify as transgender either.

Gender Expression




Gender expression is how a person expresses their gender.


People who express their gender androgynously do not express their gender in the stereotypical manner that is expected of men and women. Genderqueer individuals tend to express their gender in androgynous ways, i.e. clothes, mannerisms, names.

Sexual Orientation




Sexual orientation is how a person identifies based on their emotional, psychological and physical attractions.

Sexual Orientation

Three components of sexual orientation
 Identity:

Straight/Heterosexual, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Pansexual  Behavior: Opposite-sex contact, same-sex contact, both-sex contact, all-sex contact  Attraction: Who is someone romantically, emotionally, physically, spiritually attracted to?
Source: American Psychological Association. 2008. Answers to your questions: For a better understanding of sexual orientation and homosexuality. Washington, DC: Author. [Retrieved from]

LGBTQ Basics
Male Intersex Female

Gender Identity
Transgender Woman

Gender Expression
Masculine Androgynous Feminine

Sexual Orientation
Women Bisexual/Pansexual /asexual Men

Being Aware of Sexual Orientation/Identities

LGBTQ people may become aware of their orientations/identities as a child or as an older adult Never “too young” or “too old” to come out Not everyone has to come out Recognize that coming out is a life long process

Queer Language
Offensive/Antiquated Terms
     

Commonly Accepted Terms
     

Homosexual Transsexual Hermaphrodite Tom Boy/Sissy Kids/Children Sexual preference/Lifestyle

Gay Transgender Intersex Genderqueer/variant Youth/Young people Sexual orientation/Gender identity

Questions? Comments?

Bullying & Harassment

Goals and Objectives

Learn the difference between harassment and discrimination Understand and recognize the risk factors and possible signs of being bullied or bullying Identify current problems and solutions for school climate today around LGBTQ issues

Harassment vs. Discrimination

Discrimination- prejudicial or distinguishing treatment of an individual based on the individual(s) membership - or perceived membership - in a certain group or category. Harassment- wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behavior intended to disturb or upset, and it is characteristically repetitive and involves threatening, insulting or dehumanizing gestures.
 Harassment

on sex stereotyping is violation of federal civil rights as a form of unlawful discrimination

Types of Bullying

Social Bullying
 Verbal
 Indirect

Physical Bullying Cyber/Electronic bullying

Bullying creates an intimidating or hostile educational environment.

Electronic Act

An "electronic act" is defined as transmission of a communication, including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound, or image by means of an electronic devise, including but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager.

Who Are Affected by Anti-LGBTQ Bias Bullying?

 

 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) Youth Youth with LGBTQ parents Youth perceived as LGBTQ; gender non-conforming youth Straight ally youth ALL youth who learn bias against LGBTQ people

Risk Factors for Being Bullied
Youth who are bullied may have one or more of the following risk factors:  Are perceived as different from their peers  Are perceived as weak or unable to defend oneself  Are depressed, anxious, or have low self-esteem  Are less popular than others and have few friends  Does not get along well with others

Risk Factors for Bullying Others
Youth who have these factors are more likely to bully others:  Are aggressive or easily frustrated  Have less parental involvement or issues at home  Think badly of others  Have difficulty following rules  View violence in a positive way  Have friends who bully others  Are bullied themselves

Signs of Being Bullied
 

 

Unexplainable injuries Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry Frequent headaches or stomach aches, faking illnesses Changes in eating habits Emotional outbursts

 

Difficulty sleeping Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations Self-destructive behaviors

Signs of Bullying Others
   

   

Get into physical or verbal fights Have friends who bully others Are increasingly aggressive Have unexplained new belongings or extra money Blame others for their problems Don’t accept responsibility for their actions Are competitive and worry about their reputation Get sent to detention principal’s office frequently Bullied themselves

Reports of Bullying by Youth

A study by the U.S. Department of Education showed that an adult was notified in only about 1/3 of bullying cases (2009)

Top 2 Reasons Students are Being Targeted by Bullying in LAUSD

Source: CDC’s Youth Behavior Surveillance System (2011)

Top 2 Reasons Students are Being Targeted by Bullying in LAUSD

Race/ethnicity Perceived sexual orientation/gender expression

Source: CDC’s Youth Behavior Surveillance System (2011)

Effects of Verbal and Non-Verbal Harassment

 

 

Emotional turmoil Low self-esteem Loneliness Depression Poor academic achievement High rates of absenteeism Bring a weapon to school Students who witness bullying also suffer mental health consequences1

Source: Rivers et al 2009

Responding to Anti-LGBTQ Language

How would you respond if a youth says to you “that is so gay!”???

Possible Responses
What do you mean by that?  Do you say that as a compliment?  How do you think a gay person might feel?

Responding to Anti-LGBTQ Language

     

Stop it Educate Be proactive Don’t ignore it Don’t be afraid of making the situation worse Don’t excuse the behavior Don’t try to judge how upset the target is Don’t be immobilized by fear

Source: Welcoming Schools Guide (2009)

Bullying and Harassment at School

Homophobic remarks and harassment throughout the school day can cause LGBTQ youth to feel disrespected, unwanted, and unsafe The National School Climate Survey found that 8 out of 10 students hear anti-LGBT language frequently (2011)

School Climate Today

Biased Remarks at School
 84.9%

of students heard “gay” used in a negative way frequently or often at school and 91.4% reported that they felt distressed because of this language  56.9 % of students reported hearing homophobic and negative remarks about gender expression from teachers or other school staff

School Climate Today

Safety and Victimization at School

out of 10 students felt unsafe because of their sexual orientation  4 out of 10 students felt unsafe because of their gender expression  6 out of10 students who were harassed or assaulted in school did not report the incident to school staff  4 out of 10 students who did report an incident said that school staff did nothing in response

School Climate Today


out of 10 students missed at least one entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable  Students who experience high levels of victimization were more likely to miss a day of school in the past month

times as likely for sexual orientation  2 times as likely for gender expression

One Thing You Would Like to Change Right Now
LGBT Youth

Non-LGBT Youth

Source: HRC- “Growing Up LGBT in America” (2012)

One Thing You Would Like to Change Right Now
LGBT Youth

Non-LGBT Youth



Understanding/tolerance/ hate My parents/family situation Where I live/who I live with

Source: HRC- “Growing Up LGBT in America” (2012)

One Thing You Would Like to Change Right Now
LGBT Youth

Non-LGBT Youth
1. 2. 3.



Understanding/tolerance/ hate My parents/family situation Where I live/who I live with

Money/debt/finances Appearance/weight Improving mental health

Source: HRC- “Growing Up LGBT in America” (2012)

Most Important Problem Right Now
LGBT Youth

Non-LGBT Youth

Source: HRC- “Growing Up LGBT in America” (2012)

Most Important Problem Right Now
LGBT Youth
2. 3.

Non-LGBT Youth

Non-accepting families School/bullying problems Fear of being out or open

Source: HRC- “Growing Up LGBT in America” (2012)

Most Important Problem Right Now
LGBT Youth
2. 3.

Non-LGBT Youth
1. 2. 3.

Non-accepting families School/bullying problems Fear of being out or open

Classes/exams/grades College/career Financial pressures related to college or job

Source: HRC- “Growing Up LGBT in America” (2012)

School Climate & School Discipline

LGBTQ Youth are often punished inconsistently Punitive discipline policies often remove youth from the education environment (“exclusionary discipline”) Few opportunities for Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS) and/or Restorative Justice

School Climate Today

 Gay-Straight

Alliances  Inclusive Curriculum  Supportive Educators  Comprehensive Bullying/Harassment Policies

School Climate Today

Students with these solutions report:
 Hearing

fewer homophobic remarks  Have staff that intervened upon students’ behalf when hearing homophobic remarks  Feeling safer at school  Are physically and verbally harassed at lower rates  Missed less days of school  Greater sense of connectedness with school community and students

Current Representation

Approximately 300,000 LGBTQ youth are arrested and/or detained each year of which 60% are black or Latino

LGBTQ youth make up 5-7% of the national youth population and 13-15% of those in juvenile detention

Zero Tolerance Policies

Zero tolerance policies require schools to suspend or expel students for violating rules, no matter what extenuating circumstances there might be Zero tolerance policies are often put in place in response to the failure of school districts to address the problem of antiLGBTQ bullying

Zero Tolerance Policies

Why don’t Zero Tolerance policies help protect LGBTQ students?
 They

don’t improve school safety or climate  They don’t stop bullies from bullying  They are used against LGBTQ students more than straight students

Zero Tolerance Policies

LGBTQ students sometimes engage in bullying behavior as a “defense” or “survival” mechanism.

Often reflects institutionalized bias

Other Means of Push-out
Willful Defiance  Truancy/School-based arrests  High stakes testing  “Outing”  Foster Care and Homelessness

Questions? Comments?

The Rights of LGBTQ Students

Goals and Objectives

Learn about the various laws that protect LGBTQ students Understand the civil liberties of LGBTQ students protected by state and federal laws Identify pertinent California Education Codes that are relevant to LGBTQ students

Legal Disclaimer

The topics we will discuss today are basic rights pertaining to students. While I’m not a lawyer and cannot give legal related advice or answer individual legal questions, I will be talking about how to protect yourself and your students.

California Education Code

201(e) There is an urgent need to teach and inform pupils in the public schools about their rights, as guaranteed by the federal and state constitutions, in order to increase pupils' awareness and understanding of their rights and the rights of others, with the intention of promoting tolerance and sensitivity in public schools and in society as a means of responding to potential harassment and hate violence.

Freedom of Speech

First Amendment
 U.S.

and CA Constitutions apply on campus  The First Amendment protects the Freedom of Speech  Particularly important for minority groups with “unpopular” viewpoints
 Gay

Pride Parades  Transgender Day of Remembrance  Day of Silence  Harvey Milk Day

United States Constitution, Bill of Rights

Freedom of Speech

Guarantees students the right to speak our minds, including LGBTQ issues, regardless of public opinion
 Censorship

of pro-LGBTQ messages is not allowed solely on the basis of it being controversial, inappropriate for minors or just morally wrong

Allows students to share their stories, be who they are, and build public support for LGBTQ equality

Freedom of Speech

Applies in many different contexts
 Freedom
 Courts

To Be “Out”
To Discuss LGBTQ Issues

have found that this is NOT inherently sexual

 Freedom
 Class

Projects  Book Reports  T-shirts  Armbands  Buttons  Bulletin Boards

Freedom of Speech


student may NOT:

 Interrupt/disrupt

class time  Encourage rule breaking  Say obscene things  Lie  Defame

Freedom of Expression

Fourteenth Amendment
 Attending

school dances with same sex partner  Gender expression
 Expression

vs. Dress Code Policies

 No

filtering of internet sites that have pro-LGBT messaging
 Some

schools have filters that label it as “sexual content” because it says “LGBT”

United States Constitution, Equal Protection Clause

Freedom of Assembly

The Federal Equal Access Act
 Went

into effect in 1984  Federal law requires school to allow the GSAs
 Only

if non-curriculum clubs are allowed to exist and meet on school property  Must provide the same access to meeting space, budget allocations, ability to post flyers, public announcements
 Schools

may not treat a GSA any differently than any other non-curriculum based school clubs

Title 20, United States Code, § 4071

Right to Privacy

 Students

have a right to privacy, which includes the right to keep information about sexual orientation private  School officials may NOT tell a student’s parents without their consent, even if the student is “out” on campus  School officials may NOT use a student’s sexual orientation to manipulate students in any way

Right to Unbiased & Inclusive Curriculum

Fair Accurate Inclusive Respectful Education (FAIR) Act (SB 48)
 Went

into effect January 2012  Includes historical LGBT people and people with disabilities in K-12 social sciences through ageappropriate curriculum

California Education Code Sections 51204.5, 51500, 51501, 60040, & 60044

Right to Unbiased & Inclusive Curriculum

The California Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Act (SB 71)
 Went

into effect in 2004  Replaced confusing and contradictory statutes on sex education with one law.  All public schools must have a comprehensive sexual health education, not just abstinence only  Educators cannot present information that is biased towards LGBT people or heteronormative

California Education Code Sections 51930 – 51939

Right to Healthcare
Students 12 and older have the right to leave school to seek confidential medical services. Services can include but are not limited to:


transmitted infection (STI) testing HIV testing Abortions Getting birth control


Schools must excuse students for access to confidential medical services without the consent of the student’s parent


must excuse absences related to having medical services rendered. Teachers must allow students to make up all assignments

Right to Be Free From Harassment

The California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act (AB 537)
 Went

into effect on January 1, 2000  Added actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender and association with to the existing nondiscrimination laws in CA Ed Code

California Education Code Sections 220

Right to Be Free From Harassment

The California Student Civil Rights Act (SB 777)
Went into effect on January 1, 2008  Created uniform nondiscrimination standards to ensure that students, teachers and school administrators understand the protections in California schools  Defined “Gender” as sex, which includes a person’s gender identity and gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.

California Education Code Sections 200-220

Right to Be Free From Harassment

Seth’s Law (AB 9)
into effect July 1st, 2012  New California state law strengthens existing state anti-bullying laws  Requires teachers and other school personnel to intervene when safe to do so
 Went

California Education Code Sections 234, 234.1, 234.2, 234.3 & 234.5

Right to Be Free From Harassment

Bullying: Alternative Discipline (AB 1729)
Went into effect January 1st, 2013  New California law requires administrators try alternatives before suspension

Including referrals to counselors and guidance teams, positive behavioral support and restorative justice

AB 1729 is requires schools to document alternative means of correction taken prior to suspension or expulsion, and encourage effective school discipline by providing additional alternatives to suspension and expulsion for superintendents and principals in the state school discipline codes

California Education Code Sections 48900 & 48900.5

Right to Be Free From Harassment

CA law is designed to protect LGBTQ students and holds schools and school officials liable for failing to do so Students DO NOT have to be bullied Schools are required to protect against harassment
 They

may NOT ignore it  They may NOT say it should be expected  They may NOT say they didn’t know they had to protect students

Right to Be Free From Harassment

Students may NOT be harassed for:
 Being

LGBTQ  Being perceived as LGBTQ  For being friends with LGBTQ people  For having LGBTQ family members  For dressing in any particular gender normative clothing

Questions? Comments?

Uniform Complaint Procedures

Goals and Objectives

Learn about the Uniform Complaint Procedures Understand how the Uniform Complaint Procedures work with the Nondiscrimination Policies Identify how to find your Uniform Complaint Procedures and Form

Education Code Mandates

Uniform Complaint Procedures
 Adopt

a process for receiving and investigating complaints of discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying
a policy that prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying

Nondiscrimination Policy
 Adopt

Uniform Complaint Procedures
Initial Incident School
File complaint with School

School District
Appeal to School District

California Department of Education

Incident Occurred

File complaint with School District Appeal to California Department of Education

Office of Civil Rights

Uniform Complaint Procedures
 

Step1: File a complaint at your school within 6 months of the incident Step 2: Your school should resolve your complaint within 60 working days. Talk with your principal or administrator that handles discipline to work towards the best possible outcome. Step 3: If the harassment/discrimination continues or you feel that your school did not sufficiently manage the situation, file a complaint with the school district if you haven’t already done so. Within 60 days from the date of receipt of complaint, you should receive a written response from the school district. Step 4: If you are not satisfied with the response to your complaint within 15 days of receiving the decision , file an appeal to the California Department of Education.

Uniform Complaint Form

California Department of Education mandated form All school districts must have this form
 If

the district has a specific form for their district, complainants must use the one provided  If the district does not have one, use the CDEs

Where to find the UCF
 Ask

the school  Ask the district  Check the website (school, district, etc).

Tips for Filing a Complaint

 

   

Any student, parent or interested-third party can file a complaint A complaint can be filed anonymously Have someone from the school or district sign and date the form Ask for a solution Mark in your calendar the timeline Do NOT use Williams Do NOT use employee discrimination form

Enumerated Categories

 

 

Disability Gender Gender identity Gender expression Nationality Race or Ethnicity

 

Religion Sexual orientation Actual or perceived Association with a person or group

Publicity of Policies

  

Associated Student Body room Teacher’s Lounges Classrooms Student/Parent Handbooks School/District Websites

Questions? Comments?

Adult/Youth/Organizational Partnerships

Goals and Objectives

Learn how to be an effective adult ally Understand how to be an effective advocate while be cognizant of adult privilege Identify importance of and possible opportunities for coalition building

Adult Roles

What roles can and should Adult allies have when it comes to LGBTQ youth?

Youth Roles

Youth Empowered to Act (YETA)
 Youth-led,

youth-focused coalition  Created their own mission statement, goals, and objectives  Implement their own projects  Adult allies support them with resources and limited advice

Organizational Roles

Project SPIN (Suicide Prevention Intervention Now)
 Coalition

of like-minded and interested organizations  Brought together by local organization to continue discussion on how to work together  Collaboration and collection of resources
 i.e.

Working together on presentations, putting resources in same location

 Utilize

the voices of the youth they work with to effectively assist them as a unified front

Adult Roles
Effective Partnership
 

Adult Privilege
 

Advocate with youth Allies to youth Listening/Support Voice

Advocate for youth Dictating to youth Lecture Overshadow

Advocacy: Your Voice Matters!

What is Advocacy?

    

It is calling for change when and where change is needed; It is representing the needs of others who cannot advocate for themselves; It is going to the source who can make change happen; It is promoting a broader discussion with other students and your networks; It is assisting policy makers with analysis to make sure California is responsible and fair; It is educating community members about solutions; It is voting!!

Taking Action!

• •

Goal Location

• • • • •

Phone calls
Letters/Emails Rallies Lobby Visits Engaging

People Time Frame

decision makers

How can we influence decision-makers?
    

 

Send mass postcards, emails, faxes, or letters Send hand-written or personalized letters Call the legislator’s office Get published (yourself/grasstops) in a local or state paper Get “grasstops” (community and influential leaders) to call the office of the legislator Work in coalition with other organizations Meet in the Capitol with the legislator, an assistant, or field representative Meet in-district with the legislator, an assistant, or field representative

Effective Letter Writing

Elected officials pay a lot of attention to constituent mail. They need and want to hear from you When a piece of legislation is being considered, elected officials look closely at their constituents’ opinions as expressed through letters – emails, faxes and mailed letters Elected officials receive far fewer pieces of mail than you might imagine. Thus, elected officials assume that each letter they receive represents the opinion of many thousands of voters who did not take the time to write

Calling Campaigns

Phone calls from community members providing feedback on policy and advocacy issues can’t easily be ignored Build calling campaigns to communicate the urgency of the issue When a piece of legislation is being considered, elected officials look closely at their constituents’ opinions as expressed through direct phone calls

Phone calls from grasstops leaders and community members with existing relationships with the legislator can be very influential

Getting Published/LTEs

A letter to the editor can be a powerful way to educate the community on important issues as well as very useful to advancing advocacy goals. Elected officials are often influenced by letters newspapers have chosen for publication.
 Advocacy tip: If your letter is published, send a copy to your

elected officials so they can see what their constituents are writing and reading about. Be sure to include the name of the paper that published your letter and the date that it was published.

Coalition Building

Successful advocacy campaigns bring together a variety of communities of interest who coordinate their actions, tactics, and messages Including a variety of perspectives strengthens advocacy efforts Identify and contact all potential allies and cultivate relationships with

Coalition Building

Importance of Building a Coalition for Issue-based Work
Broaden support  Buy-in from community and/or groups that work with impacted community  Organizations also focused on the issue (like-minded) and/or providing services for the targeted community and the “unusual” partners  Organizations and groups take different roles and take on different pieces of the issue based on their specialties

Coalition Building

Mission Goals Membership
 Roles  Capacity

 

Timeline Communication

Coalition Building

Mission and Goals
What is our goal?  Is this a short-term or long-term goal?  What is needed to accomplish our goal?.


Who do we want at the table?
Community leaders in favor of your position (both usual and atypical partners)  Beneficiaries of the legislation and service organizations serving them  Experts in the field

Coalition Building
Racism Adultism Sexism Classism

Ableism Imperialism/Nationalism


Coalition Building?
LGBTQ Immigrant

Coalition Building

Timeline and Communication
 How
 All

long will the coalition continue to meet?
goals and commitments need timelines

 What

is the mechanism for communication and how
communication can lead to ineffective coalition

 Ineffective

Lobby Visits

In-district lobby visits are in person meetings with decision-makers in their local district offices with the goal of convincing the decision-maker to agree with you on a policy.

Lobby Visits

Setting up meetings

Strategically pick targeted decision-makers Use current contacts when applicable to set up meetings
Identify a problem Establish a solution to the problem or an “ask” Note any questions or comments the legislators had about the issue so you can follow-up Go to to see how the member voted on a bill. Call the office a day or two before a key vote to see if the member has made a commitment. Thank the member for meeting with you and voting the right way (via phone, fax, mail, LTE, etc.)

Meeting with decision-makers
  

Follow Up is Key
  

Questions? Comments?



Each group will be assigned a scenario Questions for the group to ask?
 What

went well?  What went wrong?  Were the student’s/students’ rights violated?  What are our recommendations?

Scenario 1
Jessie is a transgender(MTF) student at a California public high school. Jessie has just recently begun to transition, including at school. Alex is a student in Jessie’s class who was raised by conservative parents to believe that being transgender is morally wrong. Every day when Jessie comes into the classroom Alex taunts her and calls her names. When Jessie complained to the teacher, the teacher told her that she should stop drawing so much attention to herself and should just wear “normal” clothes. In the scene, please demonstrate whether the teacher is breaking the law. Also demonstrate several ways in which Jessie can advocate for herself.

Scenario 2
A group of students at ABC High School, a California public school, wants to start a Gay-Straight Alliance club because they feel that LGBTQ students and allies on campus face a lot of harassment and discrimination. When they asked the principal for permission to start the club, she told them that Gay-Straight Alliance clubs were against school policy because it was inappropriate to talk about sexuality at school. ABC high school has several other clubs that are allowed to meet on campus at lunch time and after school, including Math Club, Science Club, Chess Club, Knitting Club, Democratic Club, and Mountain Biking Club. The other clubs are allowed to post flyers in the hallways and present in classrooms. In the scene, please demonstrate whether the principal is breaking the law by not allowing the students to form a Gay-Straight Alliance club. Also demonstrate what the students should do.

Scenario 3
Daniel is the advisor to the GSA club at a local public high school. He has filed more than twenty complaints with the school on behalf of several different students who participate in the GSA for the bullying they have experienced—from both teachers and other students. One teacher told a student she should “go back in the closet and throw away the key.” None of the students has ever been interviewed about what they have experienced, nor has the school ever provided a written response to any of their complaints. In this scene, please demonstrate what responsibilities the school has ignored. Also demonstrate what Daniel can do to help advocate for his students.

Scenario 4
Renee is a bisexual student at a local public high school. Renee and her girlfriend are kissing on a bench during their lunch hour. Ms. Gutierrez, the vice-principal in charge of discipline, stops them and assigns them detention for violating the school’s “Public Display of Affection” (PDA) rule. Ms. Gutierrez notifies both students’ parents that they were disciplined for violating the PDA rule, but does not disclose the students’ sexual orientation. In the meeting with the students, Ms. Gutierrez reviews the PDA rule and states that “no students are allowed to engage in public displays of affection” and that all school officials are required to enforce that rule. On the same day, other vice-principals had given detention and notified the parents of heterosexual couples that had been brought in for violating the PDA rule. In this scene, please demonstrate whether the vice-principal is breaking the law. Also demonstrate what Renee can do to help advocate for herself.


 

What went well? What went wrong? Were the student’s/students’ rights violated? What are our recommendations?

Next Steps

Step 1: Community Advocates Training


Step 2: Planning for the Meeting

 

Who needs to be a part of your Advocacy Team? What issue areas does the Advocacy Team want/need to focus on? What is your approach? What resources do we need to find to leave behind with the district personnel?

Step 3: Assessment

What issue areas need the most attention?
 Overall
 Gay

focus could be on:

Straight Alliance Clubs  Inclusive and Unbiased Curriculum  Comprehensive Policies  Supportive Staff
 What

other areas do you need to focus on?

 Trans

issues  Queer students of color  LGBT inclusive anti-bullying programs?

Step 4: Phone Call to School District

Main purpose is to set up a meeting with a school district personnel
 The

Superintendent is main goal  Assistant Superintendent’s can be helpful as well
 However,

Assistant Superintendent’s have specific issue areas

 One

position that would be helpful is the district’s Complaint Officer

Step 5: Meeting with School District

Bring awareness to issues Address problems Offer solutions

Step 6: Follow-Up

Action items and timelines are crucial for follow-up
 Creates

accountability for advocates and school district personnel

Get direct contact information for school district personnel that you met with to follow-up Keep them accountable

Questions? Comments?

Contact Us
GSA Network

ACLU of Southern California

Ariel Bustamante
Southern California Program Coordinator

Joey Hernández
Community Engagement & Policy Advocate (213) 482-4021 (213) 977-5268

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