Create a Safe Classroom

What to Say to "That's So Gay" | Responding to Slurs | Top Ten Tips


Top Ten Tips
Creating a Safe Space for LGBTQ Students and Families

1. Use inclusive language when discussing identities, families or relationships.  Don’t assume the genders of parents or students’ relationship interests. When discussing families use terms parent or caregiver as alternatives, and be inclusive when discussing relationships. Always ask for preferred gender pronouns.

2. Create clear school rules.  Post them in a space visible to all students.  Use the district Anti-Slur policy as a base.

3. Interrupt all name-calling and the derogatory use of the word “gay.”  Keep in mind that silence is approval for use of the word “gay” to mean “stupid” or “dumb”.

4. Name it, claim it, and reframe it: when intervening in name-calling call out the behavior, explain to the student how it hurts people, and provide them an opportunity to refra me what they said.  

5. Implement LGBTQ inclusive lessons. Read books with LGBTQ characters, themes, families or highlight LGBTQ historical events or figures.  Inclusive lessons are an important mirror for students to see themselves reflected in the world. 

6. Collaborate with your colleagues. Creating safe and supportive environments is collective work. Collaborate with other site staff to promote inclusiveness and safety:

  • Elementary – Health Advocate, LSP/School Social Worker, Nurse, Youth Outreach Coordinator. 
  • Middle and High – LGBTQ Support Liaison, Wellness Coordinator/School Social Worker, Nurse, Community Health Outreach Worker, Youth Outreach Coordinator. 

7. Practice answering difficult questions.  With a colleague practice how you might answer students’ questions about family diversity or LGBTQ people.

8. Increase LGBTQ visibility. Create a bulletin board with resources or hang posters that reflect the diversity of the school and your community.

9. Celebrate LGBTQ Pride! April is LGBTQ Pride month for SFUSD.  Use the Health Awareness Event to spark discussion about pride, identity and diversity. 

10. Ask for help! Contact School Health Programs for assistance in creating a safe space for all students and families.


Download Top Ten Tips pdf


What to Say to "That's So Gay" | Responding to Slurs | Top Ten Tips



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