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Laurie Vargas

LGBTQ Kids Club - Grattan Elementary

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what do you do in SFUSD?

I am a School Social Worker and have been in the district for 9 years.  I spend half my week at Grattan Elementary School and the other half as a Mentoring for Success program coordinator for the District. 

What inspired you to create the LGBTQ Kids club at Grattan? 

Grattan has several gender non-conforming students and LGBTQ families and I felt that, as a school, we could be more intentional about how we support our LGBTQ community. A few years ago a student told me she felt that she was the only student with 2 moms. After my initial shock, I took a step back and looked critically at the level of visibility of LGBTQ families. In our school, we have staff and families that are openly LGBTQ, so what does it mean when a student feels like they are the only one? Mr. Philip, our popular computer teacher, and I decided to create visible space for 3rd-5th graders with LGBTQ family members. As the club took off, other students and teachers joined!

What is a fun activity you've done with your students?

Fall semester we spent a great deal tackling the great ol' question- How do you respond when you hear, "that's so gay"?  The students wrote a skit and have performed it in a number of our classrooms and at the LGBTQ Families Dinner in November. During our meetings students love to share how they speak up in real situations when they hear slurs.  We are currently working on a video project to celebrate all students and families.    

What has been the school/community reaction to the group?

Everyone is supportive!  Families are happy to have their students involved and proud of the leadership roles they are taking. 

What do you envision as the future for this group?

We are also lucky to have the support of teachers. I want this to continue to be a safe space for all students.  I appreciate the openness our students have with each other, they often share their personal stories about why they have joined the club.

Familes Dinner ActivityKids Club at Grattan

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Quote - “Treat everyone like you love them, even if they are different.” - 12th grader, School of the Arts High School

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