LOS ANGELES — As students across California settle back into the routine of in-person learning, Equality California Institute sent the Safe and Supportive Schools Survey to each of California’s 330 unified school districts. The Survey is a collaborative effort led by Equality California Institute to the efforts of unified school districts to implement laws and policies that support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer+ (LGBTQ+) students; to develop programs to protect LGBTQ+ students from bullying and violence; and to serve at-risk LGBTQ+ students.
Results from the survey will be published in Equality California Institute’s Safe and Supportive Schools Report Card in Fall 2022. This is the second time that Equality California Institute is conducting the Safe and Supportive Schools Survey. The 2019 Safe and Supportive Schools Report Card be accessed online at safesupportiveschools.org.
“We created the Safe and Supportive Schools Survey to help shine a light on the successes and challenges that California schools say they are experiencing when implementing LGBTQ+ inclusive programs and policies,” said Executive Director at Equality California. “Equality California has sponsored a number of laws in California designed to protect LGBTQ students. However, we know laws must be implemented in order to be effective, and we must meet more than the basic legal requirements to achieve schools that are safe and supportive and that give every student — regardless of background, zip code, sexual orientation or gender identity — a shot at success.”
Across California, LGBTQ+ people are experiencing a crisis in health and wellbeing, and these disparities often take root in childhood. LGBTQ+ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their non-LGBTQ+ peers, and are 120% more likely to become homeless than their straight peers. They also experience higher incidence of violence, harassment, and bullying, contributing to decreased school attendance and higher school drop-out rates. These inequities affect LGBTQ+ people across their lifetime, making it more likely that they will experience poverty, ill-health, homelessness, substance use, and other challenges.
To ensure the future success of LGBTQ+ youth in schools and the workforce, our communities need policy and programming that addresses equitable education, increases LGBTQ+ acceptance through cultural competency, promotes youth leadership and prevents bullying and harassment for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The survey, which is comprised of 88 questions, gathers critical information on school climate, teacher training, curriculum, anti-bullying, suicide prevention and other policies essential to providing a welcoming and affirming learning environment to all students, including those who identify as LGBTQ+.
Responses are due by March 25, 2022. Equality California Institute will consolidate results in a public index and report. The index will also be a resource to all community members who seek to advocate for inclusive programs and policies that benefit all students.
Parents, teachers, and community members can help support this effort by writing into their school districts and asking them to complete the survey. For more information on how to get involved visit safesupportiveschools.org.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org