The communication below comes from Jeffery Riley, Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education regarding his commitment to supporting inclusive learning environments:
Office of Student and Family Support
Highlights from the Commissioner’s letter:
2021-2022 Commissioner letter to district and school leaders about the Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students
As educators, we play an important role in fostering resilience, joy, safety, and positive relationships for LGBTQ students, despite the many disparities that LGBTQ students continue to face. The 2019 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) shows that LGBTQ students are twice as likely to report having been bullied in the previous school year, and more than three times as likely to have skipped school in the past month because of feeling unsafe — as can be seen in the Commission on LGBTQ Youth Fiscal Year 2022 Report (page 8).
Creating safe schools for all students is an important part of furthering the Holistic Support and Enrichment and all four themes outlined in my "Our Way Forward " report, and is a core component of the Department's (DESE) priority to strengthen social-emotional competencies, health, and safety and all five strategic priorities.
…all schools to provide access to restrooms (including all-gender restrooms), locker rooms, and athletic teams consistent with a student's gender identity.
For the complete letter see; here.
The Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students is a joint initiative between the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth.
The Safe Schools Program also manages the Massachusetts Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) Student Leadership Council.
For additional resources; see here.