Minneapolis School Board just passed a resolution unanimously that calls for more tracking of anti-bullying efforts, better training of teachers when it comes to LGBTQ issues, and for LGBT people to be included in curriculum:
In a unanimous vote by outgoing board members Tuesday evening, the Minneapolis School Board passed a resolution that significantly beefs up its LGBT curriculum and anti-bullying efforts. The resolution directs the school district to enhance its tracking of anti-LGBT bullying incidents as well as include LGBT themes in school curriculum.
The resolution directs the district to include educational materials about the safety of LGBT students and to offer yearly trainings for all district staff from administrators to bus drivers. It will mean that sexual health curriculum will include LGBT issues and an elective course will be created that centers on LGBT history.
One of the best ways to fight homophobia in my book is through education, and it's good that the schools are pro-active about not excluding LGBT people from their curriculum out of fear as so many school districts do.
While the focus here is on LGBT students generally, one school board member explained in an interview that a lot of the issues they have with LGBT students have more to do with gender than with sexuality:
The guidelines address how you interact with students that want to be called by a different pronoun, for example. How you interact with students that are transgender in terms of what type of access should they have to sports teams, to things like the prom. We won't have a situation where if somebody wants to wear a tux to a prom it's a big deal if it's a girl, or if we end up with two prom kings.
Research tells you that as kids are developing their identity, if they have gender-questioning behavior or if they're gender-nonconforming, there are ways to support them. What you have are a lot of parents who say, "Hell no, you're a boy, you're going to be a boy. You're a girl, you're going to be a girl." Some of those kids, when they come to school, want to be called by a different pronoun. Or if they're a Christopher they might want to be called Kristy.
You will find teachers that will abide by that and some that won't. The district can now just say, as a rule we go with research so we go with what the child prefers to be called. We don't make a big deal about it. If the parent then finds out about it and [disagrees], then we have to go with what the parent says.
It's good that they're going out of their way to address this and gathering data on the matter too, since that can be used later to develop strategies to fight anti-LGBT bullying in schools.