Oceanside, San Diego Unified faculty districts obtain excessive marks for supporting LGBTQ college students


State Superintendent Tony Thurmond moderated a panel in Oceanside Unified Tuesday as the college district was honored by a civil rights group for its efforts to help LGBTQ college students.

However some LGBTQ college students at Oceanside stated they nonetheless have but to see these efforts materialize at their faculty and wish courses that debate LGBTQ historical past and extra follow-up from directors after they report bullying.

On Tuesday civil rights group Equality California launched its second annual report card grading faculty districts’ efforts to help LGBTQ college students. Educators and civil rights activists say such efforts are essential contemplating that many LGBTQ college students face stigma and harassment for his or her sexual or gender identities and, because of this, worse psychological well being.

The group requested California’s greater than 340 unified faculty districts to reply to a survey about how they’re supporting LGBTQ college students; of these, solely a couple of third responded.

Based mostly on their responses, Oceanside Unified and San Diego Unified had been two of the 19 districts rated the best by Equality California for having in depth insurance policies and applications to create LGBTQ inclusion for college students.

Poway Unified was rated within the center tier, which means the group believes it has finished a superb quantity of labor however not sufficient.

Vista Unified was rated within the lowest tier, which means the group believes it has taken preliminary steps however not absolutely carried out necessary insurance policies and applications.

Eight different unified districts in San Diego County didn’t reply to the survey, in response to the report.

The survey discovered combined outcomes: some efforts, like common anti-bullying insurance policies and procedures, are in place on the overwhelming majority of districts that responded. Others, like gown code insurance policies that permit college students to put on apparel that matches their gender identification or gender expression, are in place at far fewer districts.

About half of the college districts that responded have at the very least one gender-neutral lavatory that’s simply accessible for college students and never in a nurse’s workplace or college lounge, the survey discovered. About two-thirds permit transgender and gender-nonconforming college students to alter their title and gender markers.

About half stated they haven’t but adopted LGBTQ-inclusive textbooks or different educational supplies. Since 2011 California has had the FAIR Schooling Act, which requires faculties to debate the position and contributions of LGBTQ People in social science courses, together with different traditionally underrepresented teams.

On Tuesday morning Thurmond, the state superintendent, moderated a panel dialogue with Oceanside Unified employees, board members and college students about how faculties will be supporting LGBTQ college students.

Oceanside Unified Superintendent Julie Vitale accepted an award for Oceanside’s efforts as one of many highlight districts. Vitale, who’s one of some overtly homosexual faculty district superintendents within the state, stated she has confronted discrimination throughout her profession that has motivated her to cease the identical factor from taking place to her college students.

“Due to these experiences, it actually has solely made me stronger and extra dedicated to making sure that our unseen college students are seen, our LGBTQ college students,” Vitale stated in an interview.

Oceanside’s efforts come at a time when books, curricula, employees trainings and different efforts to help LGBTQ college students have come beneath hearth nationwide from conservatives who declare that speaking about LGBTQ points equates to sexualizing youngsters.

“Let’s give our board members and superintendent and employees a spherical of applause for championing these insurance policies in an setting when the state and the nation have actually gone the opposite approach, banning curriculum, banning books and never being keen to speak about inclusion, which I don’t get,” Thurmond stated in the course of the panel.

Oceanside Unified has educated all of its employees in unconscious bias, Vitale stated, an effort that began about 4 years in the past. There may be at the very least one counselor at each faculty and the district brings in psychological well being specialists from exterior businesses, stated Jordy Sparks, Oceanside Unified’s variety, fairness and inclusion director. The district stated it trains directors on the way to examine stories of discrimination and bullying. And faculties have supplemental curriculum about LGBTQ historical past, Sparks stated.

When requested about loos, Vitale and Sparks stated they don’t know what number of gender-neutral loos they’ve on campuses or if each faculty has one.

Regardless of district leaders’ guarantees and insurance policies, some Oceanside LGBTQ college students stated they haven’t seen these insurance policies put into motion.

“There’s little to no illustration,” stated Mio Holguin, a 17-year-old, bisexual Oceanside Excessive senior who was a panelist at Tuesday’s occasion. “You sort of have to seek out it.”

Holguin and fellow scholar panelist Marius Montoya stated they haven’t seen classes in any of their courses about LGBTQ historical past or notable LGBTQ figures.

“We don’t actually see anyone like us in historical past,” stated Montoya, 16, who’s a junior at Oceanside Excessive and is homosexual.

Montoya stated he has reported incidents to high school employees when he was bullied for being homosexual — for instance, college students have thrown issues at him or stated insensitive feedback as he was spending time together with his boyfriend. However Montoya stated he didn’t see employees do something about his stories.

“That’s the principle fear I really feel plenty of LGBTQ college students have with going to report issues, is that one thing gained’t occur,” Montoya stated in the course of the panel.

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