All students in this country deserve not only a quality education, but they also deserve the right to be who they are without discrimination or harassment while pursuing that education.

The notion of equity not only applies to a student’s racial identity and socio-economic status but also to a student’s gender identity as well. Many of our nation’s LGBTQ+ students face discrimination and harassment while at school and are often tormented online by their peers when at home. For these students, school can be a very desolate place, and we must make every effort to create a truly equitable and safe learning environment for all.

Schools Should Be a Safe Haven

Our country’s businessmen, teachers, skilled tradesmen, entrepreneurs, etc., all matriculate through our public schools. Ideally, those schools should be safe spaces. However, this safe environment is often a hostile one for LGBTQ+ students. According to a recent report, Like Walking Through a Hailstorm (2020), “Outside the home, schools are the primary vehicles for educating, socializing, and providing services to young people in the United States. Schools can be difficult environments for students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but they are often especially unwelcoming for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth.” When students do not feel welcomed, their ability to achieve is limited.

Additionally, when they are in an unsafe learning environment, their achievement is oftentimes diminished. As a result of this lack of safety, school districts must work to establish inclusive policies that support the safety of all students.

Limited Policies Enable Discrimination

Although schools are designed to educate our children and produce future citizens, they are often not as inclusive as they should be due to a lack of policies designed to support the inclusion of all students. In many instances, schools do not have policies that address LGBTQ+ discrimination. According to the news article, United States: LGBT Students Face Discrimination (2020), these students are subjected to “restrictions on LGBT student groups…and discrimination and bigotry from both classmates and school personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” Too often this group experiences excessive bullying, exclusion, and discrimination while in school. When students are exposed to this type of learning environment on a daily basis, student achievement is negatively impacted. Additionally, this lack of policy creates additional problems for these children and their parents. In many cases, these students also suffer physical and psychological damage. In order to address this issue and to ensure policy reform in school districts, parents must become advocates for their children.

Limited Policies Enable Discrimination

Although schools are designed to educate our children and produce future citizens, they are often not as inclusive as they should be due to a lack of policies designed to support the inclusion of all students. In many instances, schools do not have policies that address LGBTQ+ discrimination. According to the news article, United States: LGBT Students Face Discrimination (2020), these students are subjected to “restrictions on LGBT student groups…and discrimination and bigotry from both classmates and school personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.” Too often this group experiences excessive bullying, exclusion, and discrimination while in school. When students are exposed to this type of learning environment on a daily basis, student achievement is negatively impacted. Additionally, this lack of policy creates additional problems for these children and their parents. In many cases, these students also suffer physical and psychological damage. In order to address this issue and to ensure policy reform in school districts, parents must become advocates for their children.

Parents Must Create Change

Becoming a parent advocate is essential to changing this type of learning environment for students. Parents must work to change these circumstances by demanding a safe, inclusive, and nurturing educational environment for all students. In order to eradicate discrimination of LGBTQ+ students in public schools, parents must raise their voices and become actively involved in changing systemic practices that marginalize these students.

One way to change the current systems in public schools is by exercising your right to vote. As parents, you elect politicians and district leaders who have a direct impact on public education. Secondly, parents must become more involved in their child’s local school and district. If your child is experiencing any form of discrimination, take your concerns to the school’s principal or district personnel. School districts are required to hear your concerns, and they value parent feedback. Finally, parents must become active. There are often organizations in your local community that can help you become better advocates. Seek assistance from local advocacy groups that can help you better understand student rights in education.

As a final point, it must be stated that no student can learn freely in a hostile environment. For LGBTQ+ students in this country this type of environment is a haunting reality and it should not be. Every child in this country deserves a high-quality public education filled with equity and inclusiveness regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender preference, or gender identity. Let’s work to ensure that they get what they deserve.

Works Cited
“Like Walking Through a Hailstorm.” (2020, May 27). Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/12/08/walking-through-hailstorm/discrimination-against-lgbt-youth-us-schools
United States: LGBT Students Face Discrimination. (2020, October 28). Human Rights Watch. https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/12/07/united-states-lgbt-students-face-discrimination