Educators Across Florida Welcome LGBTQ Students Back to School
Summer has come and gone, and now school is back in session. For some LGBTQ young people, this time of year is filled with dread and anxiety as they wonder if their teachers and friends will accept them.
Visible support for LGBTQ youth is a powerful thing and, in some cases, life-saving. We know that just one accepting adult can reduce the risk of a young LGBTQ person attempting suicide by 40%. With this in mind, it’s critical that our young people know who to turn to for help. Through our Safe and Healthy Schools Project, we’re helping to create welcoming environments as students return back to school. Over the summer, we sent new shirts, lapel pins, and stickers to Florida educators, counselors, and school district employees to help them display their support for LGBTQ youth.
Take a look at the back to school messages below from educators across the state.
"Queer and trans students deserve to feel safe. They deserve to see their ancestors reflected in the curriculum, smiling back at them with pride. They deserve to feel welcomed and affirmed."
"I am Dr. Minerva Spanner Morrow and as the Chief Diversity Officer for the Hillsborough County Public Schools, I would like to welcome all students back to school. Hillsborough County Public Schools promotes a welcoming and supportive environment that celebrates and values diversity and respect for each student and each employee. The Office of Diversity advocates for the needs of LGBTQ+ students and provides supports to staff and administrators to ensure welcoming and safe spaces for ALL students. I wish you a successful and safe school year and hope that we can all be allies by promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for ALL students! Thank you."
"We stand proud beside our LGBTQ students. We teach, we guide, we listen, we learn, we do - to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of all of our students. We are Duval County Public Schools – We serve Every School. Every Classroom. Every Student. Every Day."
"Your safety is my priority. It is important that you feel comfortable in the skin you're in. We are here to support you during your educational journey with Broward Public Schools."
"Every individual has the right to be welcomed, to be safe, to be treated with respect, while receiving the best education. There has been no greater task I've been given and therefore I stand proud with LGBTQ+ students, staff and families to ensure this happens!"
"I am a community liaison that supports homeless students, and we know that many students whom are struggling with their gender identity or sexual orientation are put out of their homes. I work towards making schools a safe place so that regardless of what's happening in our students' lives, they can feel welcomed and safe at school."
"As the Pinellas Safe & Healthy Schools Coordinator, keeping LGBTQ+ students and their families safe and supported is my priority. Public school education is based on equity- that is, accepting and respecting the identities of ALL students- especially our most marginalized youth. Every child should be celebrated for being the most authentic version of themself! LGBTQ+ youth, YOU BELONG!"
"We believe in quality education for all students in a safe and nurturing environment. All means all!"
"Less than half of LGBTQ youth respondents were out to an adult at school. Let them know they belong!"
"All students deserve to feel safe and accepted in our schools. Above all else, I want them to know I see you and I support your truth."
"I am an advocate for LGBTQ youth because I want them to know that they will always have at least one supportive adult in their corner who will respect them, affirm them, and ensure they feel valued and welcomed at school!"
"I support LGBTQ students by keeping an open mind and supporting all my students and connecting them to vital resources."
"We have a SAFE network to support you. We see you and you belong here at MDCPS! @SAFE_MDCPS"
"All students have the right to feel welcomed, safe, and included in our school communities. Educators should model respect, advocacy, and support for LGBTQ+ students."
"We do what we do because we care about the safety and wellbeing of our lgbtq+ students, staff and their families and want them to learn in an accepting environment."
"Yes, LGBTQ youth belong in our schools. They not only belong. They exemplify who they are through opportunities to fully participate in their schools and events that promote all youth."
"Our mission is to provide educational excellence in every school, in every classroom, for every student, every day."
"Here at Interlachen High School in beautiful Putnam County we are all excited about the new school year. Interest in our gay/straight alliance is growing, and more and more faculty are outright supporters of the LGBT students and faculty in our school and county. Come visit us!!! We want to know more likeminded people."
"All students are welcome and supported in DCPS schools. LGTBQ students have safe spaces for learning. Differences are respected and embraced for all students to teach their full potential."
"It is our responsibility to provide the best education possible to each individual student who attends our schools."
"When you are kind to others, it not only changes you, it changes the world."
"Welcome to the 2019/2020 school year! We are excited each and every one of you are here, and hope this year is a great one! I support our LGBTQ+ students, and work systemically to support students and promote safe and healthy learning environments in Duval County Public Schools for ALL. #teamduval"
"As a chorus teacher, I strive to create a safe classroom environment that allows my students to feel free to express themselves musically and personally in a class free of judgement."
"Martin County School District's Student Service Department is an ally to LGBTQ youth because we believe that ALL students deserve to attend safe and inclusive schools free from bullying and harassment."
"LGBTQIA+ students deserve to thrive in our schools and jive in the music room! We study composers from all backgrounds, affirm all voices, and perform repertoire with empowering messages to embrace not erase."
"We support all children in pursuit of their academic, athletic and artistic endeavors and work hard to ensure our students graduate on time, are college and career ready and prepared for success in a global society. Every Student. Every Day."
Ensuring LGBTQ students feel safe, valued, and respected in schools is the top priority of our Safe & Healthy Schools project –– that’s why we launched our first-ever Back to School Campaign. We've set an ambitious goal of raising $15,000 by August 31 for this life-saving program.
Can you help Equality Florida continue to provide shirts, and resource kits, to hundreds of school officials across Florida to help them welcome LGBTQ youth back to school?