LOS ANGELES (June 12, 2018) – Today, the L.A. Unified Board of Education voted unanimously to support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ+) students, families and schools. Board Member Dr. Ref Rodríguez authored the resolution after listening to concerns and recommendations from the LGBTQA Youth Council of the Latino Equality Alliance. The entire school board co-sponsored the resolution, including student member Benjamin Holtzman.
“I have spent most of my life advocating for the LGBTQ+ community and quality education for all,” Dr. Rodríguez said. “It is heartening to have my colleagues support these two combined causes today. I am grateful that the LGBTQA Youth Council brought their concerns to me and I am inspired that we could find a meaningful way to address them at today’s meeting. This kind of policymaking is what motivated me to join the board.”
Board Member Dr. Richard Vladovic said, “Discrimination of any kind has no place in our schools; not a single person that attends or works at our schools should ever be made to feel scorn or shame for their sexual orientation.”
Board Member Kelly Gonez said, “We will never stop working until all of our schools are places where every student feels welcome, safe, supported, accepted and valued. I am proud of this step to better promote the inclusion of our LGBTQ+ students, staff, and families.”
“Our students and families reflect the diversity of our communities. We believe that inclusion and diversity is our strength as a district and a nation. It is unshakeable and not negotiable,” said School Board President Mónica García. “We thank each of you for your courage and leadership.”
L.A. Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner said, “All students have the right to a learning environment where they are treated with dignity and respect. We are sending a clear message that all L.A. Unified schools are places were LGBTQ+ students are welcome, supported and valued.”
School Board Vice President Nick Melvoin said, “I am proud to co-sponsor this resolution and affirm that this Board, as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, will ensure that our schools are instilled with the spirit of inclusivity and compassion that every person, in L.A. Unified and around the world, deserves.”
In keeping with L.A. Unified’s commitment to affirming the lives of its diverse students, the resolution, “Increasing Supports for LGBTQ+ Students, Their Families and Schools,” calls on L.A. Unified to:
- Recognize October as LGBTQ+ History Month.
- Mandate a high school textbook adoption committee work with the Division of Instruction to include students as part of the committee.
- Increase LGBTQ+ competency training for educators, staff, administrators and parents.
- Add a platform to achieve.lausd.net that shares LGBTQ+ information and resources.
- Conduct an analysis of single user, all-gender bathrooms and:
- whether they comply with State Law AB-1732, which helps combat gender identity discrimination,
- describe how schools can request multi-stall all-gender student restrooms and
- communicate all-gender bathroom locations and availability.
The resolution further requires the superintendent to examine the Office of Human Relations, Diversity, and Equity and make recommendations to the board on necessities to implement the resolution. Finally, the superintendent will report to the board within 60 days with recommendations related to the resolution, which the board will consider for implementation by October 2018.
Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said, “We support the promotion and creation of safe, inclusive learning environments for all students in the district.”
Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said, “As a former principal, I understand how important it is for every single student to feel valued, respected and supported. We should not have to pass resolutions to affirm this basic human right.”
In the run-up to the resolution’s passage, Speak UP, a leading parent advocacy group, said the resolution could be “a huge help for LGBTQ+ students.”
Contact: Jacob Roberts (213) 238-9034