This year is very exciting in New York State because all school districts have to implement the Dignity for All Students Act (Dignity Act), which means that they have to make sure that they are offering safeguards and resources that will help create an inclusive environment. In my own district we have school board policies and student codes of conduct to help ensure that we are creating a safe environment for all students. Through our district curriculum teams, librarians offer LGBT sections in the high school library and K-12 teachers educate students about gender bias through the use of children’s literature and character education resources. In addition, we are using sources from GLSEN’s Ready, Set, Respect and our Dignity Act committee will be implementing student surveys to see how well it is working.
Resources to help you get back to school
Ready, Set, Respect! – a toolkit for elementary educators
States with Safe Schools laws – check to see if your state has an enumerated anti-bullying policy, such as the Dignity for All Students Act in New York
Model Laws & Policies – if your state doesn’t have anti-bullying legislation, take a look at our model legislation and talk to your local lawmakers about adopting it.
Peter DeWitt is a blogger at Education Week and author of “Dignity For All: Safeguarding LGBT Students.”
Learn more about GLSEN www.glsen.org