LOS ANGELES — After two decades of working to pass pro-equality legislation at the state Capitol, today Equality California — the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization — has launched the Safe and Supportive Schools Report Card, shining a light on the successes and challenges that California unified school districts say are experiencing when implementing policies, programs and curriculum aimed at creating safe and supportive learning environments for their LGBTQ students and staff.
The first-of-its-kind Report Card uses data gathered from a survey distributed to all 343 unified school districts throughout California to establish a baseline on how each district has implemented such policies, programs and curriculum. While certain districts reported that they have made great strides, other districts reported that much work remains to be done in their schools.
“We have worked tirelessly over the last two decades to enact laws and policies that create safer, more supportive learning environments for our LGBTQ students,” said Rick Zbur, Executive Director of Equality California and Equality California Institute. “But our work cannot — and does not — stop in the Capitol. For these laws to be effective, they must be implemented. This Report Card is a critical step toward providing every California student — regardless of background, zip code, sexual orientation or gender identity — a safe and supportive school and a shot at success.”
The report card measures progress that school districts are making on specific metrics, including:
“As the son of a public school teacher and myself having spent twenty years as a social worker supporting our school districts, I know the importance of creating learning environments that are safe and supportive for the students who attend them,” said California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. “This report will help to create transparency as school districts across our state work to implement best practices, policies and programs to protect and support LGBTQ students. I encourage district leaders, parents, teachers and students to use it as a tool to advance equality in your classrooms and the health and well-being of students in your communities.”
San Francisco Unified, Laguna Beach Unified, and Visalia Unified School Districts are among some of the school districts that received particularly high marks on the Report Card, falling within the top tier of Spotlight Districts.
“The Equality California Safe and Supportive Schools Survey provided Visalia Unified with the opportunity to undertake a thorough review of our policy and practices related to school safety,” said Visalia Unified School District Superintendent Todd Oto. “The results of that survey, communicated through the 2019 Equality California Safe and Supportive Schools Report Card, provide us with affirmation that we have a solid foundation to build upon in ensuring that all of our students have a school environment that is safe and inclusive.
“In our district, we have maintained a focus on every student, every day; continuous improvement; and the development of meaningful relationships. These are values that are embedded in our district culture that drive the work we do to ensure that we provide every student with the support and resources they need to succeed in high school and beyond,” said Laguna Beach Unified School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jason Viloria. “We have invested significant time and resources into the development of our social-emotional systems of support to create learning environments where all students have the opportunity to thrive. Equality California Institute is working to make this a reality for every student in the United States, and we are honored to receive this recognition from an organization that has student equity at the top of its priority list.”
The Safe and Supportive Schools Report Card is a resource for students, parents, teachers, advocates, community leaders and school district officials to use in their work to improve school climate for LGBTQ students across California. The full report and interactive website displaying school district results can be found here.
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