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Los Angeles Unified Shows its Pride (06-18-19)

Board votes for new supports for LGBTQ+ youth

LOS ANGELES, June 18, 2019 – The Los Angeles Unified Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to institute policies aimed at creating more supportive school environments for LGBTQ+ students. The resolution, authored by Board Member Kelly Gonez, calls for updating the all-gender restroom policy and expanding access to all-gender restrooms when modernizing school facilities – a particular need identified by LGBTQ+ students themselves.

“Our schools must be safe and supportive environments for all our students, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression,” Board Member Gonez said. “This resolution stems directly from the leadership of students in the East Valley, who shared their experiences and identified policy changes that would help our schools become more inclusive places for learning.”

Feedback from students suggests there is more work to do to ensure Los Angeles Unified’s values of diversity and inclusiveness are felt at every school site. The resolution directs the Superintendent to partner with higher education institutions and nonprofits to assess student perceptions on all-gender restroom accessibility, experiences with bullying, and to provide the district policy recommendations as well as instructional materials and training on LGBTQ+ issues.

The resolution calls for a pilot to provide more comprehensive training to all school stakeholders, including students, families, educators and support staff, on how to create school climates that affirm and uplift LBGTQ+ students. It will also ensure that Los Angeles Unified’s implementation of the updated health education framework is inclusive of all youth experiences and identities.

“Pride month is a time to celebrate our LGBTQ+ community and reflect on the actions still needed to progress further towards a fully inclusive society. Training and awareness are critical so that our families, educators, and staff know how to support our students, whether they are facing bullying, feelings of isolation, or questions of identity,” continued Board Member Gonez. “By learning from other institutions and organizations, we can expand the resources available to our schools and ensure every child feels welcome in Los Angeles Unified.”

Joining Gonez in sponsoring the resolution were Board President Mónica García and Board Vice President Nick Melvoin.

“We celebrate with the LGBT+ community and embrace diversity in our students and staff,” García said. “We are committed to working together with partners and school staff to promote safe learning environments for all students. I am coming out in support of each and every student and their individual wellness." 

“This resolution affirms this District as a strong ally of the LGBTQ+ community,” Melvoin said. “This work truly instills in our schools the spirit of inclusivity and compassion that every student in Los Angeles Unified – and every person around the world – deserves.”

“We are committed to serving all students and celebrating each and every student as an individual,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said.

“This resolution will help and support our LGBTQ+ and other students to become aware and knowledgeable of our diverse student population and help create a safe space to protect the rights of all,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said.

“I want to thank my colleagues for bringing this forward,” Board Member Jackie Goldberg said. “We have an obligation to protect and support every student in our district, and we need the tools to help our counselors, teachers, nurses and all in our schools to provide the support our students need. We have to stop kids from being bullied for who they are or who people may think they are.”

The resolution calls for an update to the Board on progress in 60 days.