“From simple, kid-friendly visuals like the Gender Unicorn, as well as a loving and welcoming culture in my classroom, it's my hope that all students feel seen and appreciated,” said Emily Barclay, Music Teacher and Grade Level Chair at KIPP Raíces Academy.
During this Pride month, we want to highlight that at KIPP SoCal Public Schools, we believe in equality for all. We believe in “creating spaces where people can share openly, be celebrated, and show up as themselves, which are crucial parts of a safe, healthy community,” shared Aisha Bonner, KIPP SoCal Director of Schools.
OUT for Safe Schools® Partnership
Since 2019, we have been a dedicated partner with the Los Angeles LGBT Center® on their awareness campaign — OUT for Safe Schools®. By implementing OUT for Safe Schools® , in partnership we work to eliminate the social, emotional, and mental health inequities of LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, and others) students, and make sure that students and their families feel welcomed and affirmed on all our campuses.
Watch our June Wellness Wednesday bilingual community information session, you’ll learn more about how the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s OUT for Safe Schools® program transforms school campuses into communities of support and safety for LGBTQ+ students.
“We aim to be trauma-informed and culturally responsive to the needs of all students and families,” said Jasmine Lamitte, Director of Mental Health and Support Services at KIPP SoCal. “By voluntarily wearing an OUT for Safe Schools® badge, [as part of the campaign], our school team members have the opportunity to declare that they are Safe Space Ambassadors and show that they are a resource to students and families,” added Lamitte. By increasing the visibility of this awareness campaign, students will see and “know that 'safe spaces' aren’t limited to the classroom but extend to anywhere there is an adult who is wearing this badge.”1 This initiative supports our nondiscrimination and bullying policies.
In a national survey, “59.1% of LGBTQ students reported feeling unsafe because of their sexual orientation.”2 Unfortunately, “LGBTQ+ students across the nation continue to be at greater risk of dropping out of school and experiencing depression, violence, harassment, substance use and addiction, homelessness and suicide at much higher rates than their non-LGBTQ counterparts,” stated Lamitte. “This climate can affect not only LGBTQ+ students’ educational success, but their psychological well-being.”
Check out how two of our Safe Space Ambassadors help the LGBTQ+ community feel comfortable and thrive at school:
“Research has shown that when [school] team members intervene in homophobic remarks and negative remarks about gender expression, students were more likely to feel safe and less likely to have missed school for safety reasons,” expressed Lamitte.
How You Can Support LGBTQ+ Students
Here is an ally toolkit from the Los Angeles LGBT Center and OUT for Safe Schools® reminding us how “ally is a verb.”
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Pride Month at KIPP SoCal Public Schools is all year round. “Love is love is love is love,” stressed Ms. Barclay. And, “while the focus [of this awareness campaign] is on LGBTQ+ youth,” said Lamitte, “efforts to create a welcoming and affirming environment for them will have a positive effect on the environment for all youth!”
Join us on Facebook Live @kippsocal each month as our Mental Health & Support Services team lead our #WellnessWednesday sessions.
If you have any questions relating to your student's needs, mental health, or support services, please reach out to your School Counselor for help, or email our Mental Health & Support Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional resources, visit:
- KIPP SoCal LGBTQ+ Support FAQs
- ACLU | Know Your Rights
- Gender Spectrum
- Human Rights Campaign Foundation | Welcoming Schools
- Los Angeles LGBT Center
- The Los Angeles LGBT Center’s OUT for Safe Schools® program
OUT for Safe Schools® does not include any policy or curriculum changes, but provides an opportunity to deliver visible resources and community to students.
1 OUT for Safe Schools®. Retrieved from schools.lalgbtcenter.org.
2 The 2019 National School Climate Survey. (2019) Retrieved from www.glsen.org.