LGBTQ2SIA+ students have a right to a safe, supportive and inclusive education free from violence, harassment and discrimination, stated the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) this week.
The LGBTQ2SIA+ Student Success Plan released this week moves Oregon one step closer towards that goal.
The plan provides strategies and goals to create educational and social-emotional support for Oregon’s K-12 LGBTQ2SIA+ students who are at significantly high risk for bullying and harassment, suffering violence while at school, sexual assault, chronic absenteeism and suicidal ideation.
The plan addresses:
1.) The need for professional learning among Oregon educators.
2.) Equitable access to appropriate educational curriculum, facilities and activities.
3.) Necessary data collection through an annual climate survey and student advisory group to inform future decision making regarding this student population.
“Oregon has been a national leader in protecting the civil rights for LGBTQ2SIA+ youth,” ODE Director Colt Gill said. “It was among the first states to allow students to identify as non-binary or gender-fluid and developed and distributed guidance to protect the rights of transgender students. It is now imperative that we seek legislative support and funding to fully engage our LGBTQ2SIA+ youth and provide education equity.”
The plan was developed by the LGBTQ2SIA+ Advisory Group created by the Oregon Department of Education. A key component of creating the plan was talking with the students themselves.
Organized in partnership with education service districts, community-based organizations and school districts, this youth engagement consisted of four sessions (including current K-12 students and those who are no longer in school) between February and May 2020 in the South Coast, The Dalles, Southern Oregon and the Portland metropolitan area.
Data from a focus group done by a Lane County school district to inform Student Success Act priorities that included students of color and LGBTQ2SIA+ students is also included.
“Every student should feel safe and welcome in Oregon’s schools. Our state has an opportunity to support the strengths and resilience of LGBTQ2SIA+ students in a way that values their lived experiences and identities,” said Governor Kate Brown. “I am committed to supporting strategies that are grounded in equity and will put students on a path to succeed from cradle to career.”
LGBTQ2SIA+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/non-binary, Queer/Questioning, Two-Spirit, Intersex, Asexual, + (recognizes that there are myriad ways to describe gender identities).