(Former) Principal, Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy
Q: In your role as Principal what activities have you done to create a safer climate for LGBTQ youth and their families?
I have set a policy of respect for diversity and non-violence and expect all staff to address any slurs or issues regarding students and their families. We held a large Family Diversity Night Potluck. We all watched “That’s a Family!” video each year and do diversity activities all year long.
Q: Why is it important for administrators to address LGBTQ issues in their schools?
Respect for each other in all our diversities is critical. It does not matter if there are any "out" families or not. Children have to know that their family units are going to be treated with respect, all kinds of family units. LGBT issues are diversity issues and if we want our children to grow up to be positive and caring and accepting adults in a diverse world, they have to be able to address and participate in knowing how to live with differences when they are young. We all want and need respect for who we are.
Q: What has been the school/community reaction for the work you've done?
We have a very progressive community here and our family and staff reactions are very positive. I have never had one issue or complaint. The families and staff themselves are doing the work of addressing and educating about diversity.
Q: What were some challenges/barriers you encountered?
Sometimes there is not enough time in the day to do all the education and lessons we wish to do. We are constantly vigilant to the everyday things that come out of our books, our mouths, our conversations, our lives. Moment-to-moment social justice is extremely difficult to maintain but that is the goal.