We need to inform all students attending the more than 300 public high schools in Massachusetts that it is illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ students.
Educating students and faculty about the existence of the Massachusetts Student Anti-Discrimination Law, Anti-Bullying Law, and Gender Identity Law and about the rights they guarantee can help create a more supportive and affirming atmosphere in our public schools for all youth.
Resources and Recommendations
Board of Education Recommendations on the Support and Safety of Gay and Lesbian Students
An Act Relative to Gender Identity
Access to Equal Educational Opportunity: Laws and Regulations
Guidance to Massachusetts Public Schools: Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment
Student Handbook and School Policies on Harassment and Discrimination
An essential way to implement and publicize the laws is to use them as a powerful tool to ensure that the language in the student handbook in your school reflects the reality of the law. School policies concerning harassment and discrimination exist in all schools. LGBTQ students must be included in these policies to be consistent with Massachusetts law.
If your student handbook is inconsistent with Massachusetts law, set up a meeting with your school principal to discuss changing the language. When the handbook and policies are changed, ask your principal to publicize the changes so that all students and faculty know about relevant laws and regulations.
Posters, Flyers, and Copies of the Law
Displaying a poster on a school bulletin board will ensure that hundreds of students will learn about the laws. Under the provisions of the Massachusetts Student Anti-Discrimination Law, you have the right to display a poster, as long as you follow the standard procedure for use of school bulletin boards and displays.
You can design your own flyer about the law using the language of the laws and other materials. Mass-produced flyers can be distributed in faculty mailboxes and handed out in homerooms, school clubs, and at school dances.
Handing out copies of the actual bills signed by the Governor is an excellent way of bringing the laws to the attention of students in your school. A copy of the signed bills could also be reproduced in student publications.
- Have a LGBTQ Awareness Day/Week to promote understanding of LGBTQ student rights.
- Invite a speaker to your school to talk about the law at a school assembly or forum. Speakers could be from the Commission on LGBT Youth or the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
- Write an article about the law for your student newspaper, school yearbook, or your town newspaper.
- Work with students on projects about student rights in general, including rights for LGBTQ youth.