Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, the Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Orientation (SOGIE) Affirming Schools Project will assist schools in creating learning and working environments, which are affirming for all students and staff, in particular those in the LGBTQ community. Student Health and Human Services’ office of Human Relations, Diversity & Equity will partner with schools, students, community based organizations, parents and community members to identify areas of need and work collaboratively to create trainings and provide resources designed to meet the needs of all stakeholders in the school community.
The month of June is also Immigrant Heritage Month and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Awareness Month. Please read below for more information:
Immigrant Heritage Month celebrates our shared heritage as a nation of immigrants and provides an opportunity to reflect on how immigrants boost our economy. http://immigrationimpact.com/tag/immigrant-heritage-month/
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Awareness Month honors the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion, which was a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. June as Pride month was first recognized by the LAUSD Board of Education in 1992, reaffirmed in Board Rule 1102 and again annually as a District approved observance.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and will fall between May 15 and June 14 in 2018. It is widely observed by Muslims as a month of fasting to celebrate the first revelation of the Quran to Muhammad (the prophet in their religion). Fasting as a religious practice occurs among many religions. In the Islamic faith, fasting between dawn and dusk is recommended for healthy persons beginning with puberty. Ramadan is not regarded as an opportunity to avoid aspects of normal life, but is rather viewed an opportunity to cope with normal life under a different set of circumstances.
In addition to refraining from all foods and liquids between dusk and dawn, some Muslims also avoid swimming during this period. The observance allows participants to break their fast for health reasons. Women who are pregnant, nursing or menstruating are advised not to fast. Persons who are sick, injured or have a medical condition (such as diabetes) should not fast. Many Muslims will take off school or work to celebrate the culmination of Ramadan around June 14th.
Fasting Muslims typically have a hearty pre-dawn breakfast to carry them through the day until their evening meal after sunset. Schools may accommodate fasting students by allowing them to take important tests in the morning before the hunger of the late afternoon compromises their focus, providing an alternate location while their peers are eating, and modifying strenuous activities during PE. If possible, avoid holding parent or student meetings in the evenings during Ramadan.
Most of all, facilitate an understanding and empathetic environment among all staff that fosters respect and care for all students and families.
Recent developments in the US Department of Education have left some wondering how LA Unified will respond to such complaints at the local level.
During mid-February, the White House announced that it was further limiting federal guidelines regarding transgender students. Based on a statement from a U.S. Department of Education official, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights will no longer investigate or take action on complaints filed by transgender students with respect to their being banned from restrooms that match their identity. Further limiting federal policy regarding transgender students under Title IX. To read more, click here.
To clarify this statement’s potential impact on LAUSD and to reaffirm our commitment to our students, it should be noted that over a decade ago, the LAUSD felt that it was our duty to advocate for our transgender students. In 2005 we (LAUSD) wrote the first of many policies ensuring transgender students could participate in school by their affirmed identity. In 2014, LAUSD was at the table when California passed the Student Success and Opportunity Act, extending that same dignity to all public school students in California.
California student protections remain unchanged. The new position of the U.S. Department of Education only applies to complaints at the federal level --- it does not alter any California school’s obligation or ability to support their students. We know that students prosper when they feel welcomed and cared about by their schools. As educators, we support all children. Today we are reminded of our motto – Kids First!
Please refer to BUL-6224.1 Transgender Students-Ensuring Equity and Nondiscrimination, and REF 6799.0 Sex-Specific and All Gender Single and Multiple User Restrooms for details of LA Unified’s policies.
The annual LAUSD Human Relations Commission Award recognizes schools who have outstanding student-lead human relations efforts. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase the phenomenal work that is being accomplished at our schools to build Inclusive and Affirming Campuses that Celebrate or Promote:
- Sexual and gender diversity
- Students with exceptional needs
- Intergroup and cultural understanding (e.g., racial, ethnic, cultural and religious diversity and newcomer programs)
- Campuses that are free from bullying, body shaming, intolerance, and bias
- Healthy dating relationships
In 2016/17, the Commission honored ten schools for their projects, such as Dorsey’s Special Partners Sports Program, LA CES’s The Mask You Live in Project, and Valley Academy’s CommUnity Day.
Schools want to be inclusive and affirming of the various important holidays our students celebrate this time of year and recognize federal guidelines regarding religious content. The holidays are a time to bring people together. Ultimately, we strive throughout the year to create an environment where everyone feels valued and a part of our community.
HRDE also wishes to thank the local districts who have completed the Principals' Bullying and Hazing Training of Trainers. These efforts affirm students, families and staff, promote connection, inclusion, and a critical sense of safety for all students. If we can be of further assistance, please let us know.
Human Relations is providing a training of trainers workshop on bullying prevention for all principals or their designee in each local district. The training focuses on defining and identifying bullying, legal obligations, and responding to allegations. This training also includes a detailed section on documentation in iSTAR.
The Principal’s Toolkit on the Human Relations, Diversity & Equity website includes useful information and resources, as well as a bullying prevention professional development presentation specifically designed to be used with school staff members.
National Coming Out Day is an annual event for LGBT persons, friends, to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community and civil rights movement. Celebratory activities were planned for Thursday, October 12 in the Beaudry Building atrium (15th floor). Thank you supporting such a great event.
- Let's Talk - Important conversations about troubling times
"What truly makes our country great is its diversity. I've seen that beauty in so many ways over the years. Whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there's a place for us all. We must remember it's not my America or your America. It's our America." Michelle Obama, 2019
In times of conflict, divisive rhetoric, and information overload, students benefit from opportunities for meaningful dialogue about the issues that we are facing today. Let’s Talk has articles and lesson plans on crises and conflicts, politics and government.
- Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity/Expression (SOGIE)
- Diversity - Me, You, Us
- Now Matters Later
- What's New
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