related to

Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ students

The Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students is a joint program of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). It was founded in 1993 to address concerns of bullying and suicide risk that faced LGBTQ youth in Massachusetts public schools. Today, the Safe Schools Program remains an important part of implementing the state’s anti-bullying law and protecting the health and safety of students.

Table of Contents

Training and technical assistance

The Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students provides training and technical assistance relating to LGBTQ students and staff. This includes addressing bullying, understanding sexual orientation and gender identity, and improving school climate. The Safe Schools Program conducts training and technical assistance in public schools all across the state.

Submit requests for trainings here. To request technical assistance, or ask any questions you may have, contact

GSA Leadership Council

The Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students manages the statewide network of school GSAs. GSA can stand for Gay-Straight Alliance or Gender and Sexuality Alliance. These are school groups designed to support LGBTQ students and their allies. The Safe Schools Program helps to organize and support these important groups.

A key part of our work with the GSAs is the Massachusetts GSA Leadership Council. The GSA Student Leadership Council is modeled on the Student Advisory Council to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. It provides networking and skill-building opportunities for GSA student leaders and advisors to promote student leadership and improve school climate. The Leadership Council consists of a state council and six regional councils. State and regional council meetings take place bimonthly. The Leadership Council also has a yearly summit that takes place in August in Amherst. 

To learn more about the GSA Leadership Council, including viewing the meeting calendar and registering for meetings, please visit the GSA Leadership Council webpage.


The Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ students provides many resources for students, families, and education professionals. Some key resources include:

  • Commissioner’s Letter
    • An annual letter from the Commission of Elementary and Secondary Education that explains the services provided by the Safe Schools Program.
  • Gender Identity Guidance
    • Formal guidance issued by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This guidance tells schools and districts how to respectfully support transgender and gender-nonconforming students.
  • Safe and Supportive Learning Principles
    • A guide from the Safe Schools Program on how to create a safe and supportive environment for LGBTQ students.
  • Overview of Laws and Policies
    • A summary of the laws and policies relevant to LGBTQ students, as compiled by the Safe Schools Program.
  • Resource Map
    • A statewide map of resources for LGBTQ youth, including many of the state’s GSAs.