What choices are teachers making to support and include everyone, focus on LGBTQ community

LGBTQ Sticker on water bottle

Bo Melton

LGBTQ Sticker on water bottle

What choices are teachers making to support and include everyone, focusing on LGBTQ community?

The Association of American Universities found in a 2018 survey that out of a sample of more than 180,000 undergraduate and graduate students, nearly 17% identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, queer, or questioning. 1.7% of undergraduate and graduate students identified as trans, nonbinary, or questioning.

The Association of America believes now, significantly younger youth diversity has spread even more, and 17% of the student body could have increased in 2021. Given these statistics, what are AHS teachers doing to help students feel included and safe in the school environment?

AHS counselor Lauren Reiss provided her perspective on this issue.

“One thing we have is safe space stickers and in poster form as well, so you might see those scattered around the school because visibility and representation are important. This lets students know they are welcome and included in a safe space,” Reiss said.

These safe space stickers are on multiple teachers’ classes, offices, and computers. Lauren Reiss believes that these stickers show that the teachers are there for students in need or students who feel left out of the community.

The emotional impact of isolation and bullying is dramatic, especially during the vulnerable highschool years.

“The experience of being excluded sadly isn’t uncommon, and I want to remind those folks who feel this way that you are seen, you are worthy, and you are valuable, and you are welcome here. And I want to remind our student body at large and us as a school community that we have an impact when it comes to inclusive spaces, so just that reminder to spread kindness and compassion and openness to one another,” Reiss said.

Reiss wants all students to know that people are there for you if you are in need, and you are included in the AHS community by all students and staff.

The teachers of AHS are showing inclusiveness by spreading awareness with Safe Space stickers all around the high school, as well as letting students know they are here for anyone that is feeling excluded, especially those who are in the LGBTQ+ community.

-What are teachers doing and what choices are they making to include everyone, focusing on the LGBTQ+ community?

Lauren Reiss “one thing we have is safe space stickers and in poster form as well so you might see those scattered around the school because visibility and representation is important. This lets students know they are welcome and included into a safe space. This is creating a safe and included environment and this is one thing teachers are doing. Teachers are also sending out surveys at the beginning of the school year asking students their preferred pronouns. Which again is another form of validation and recognition for students that are non-binary. I have also had conversations that were just around text that they were using so again thinking about using text that is representative of others from the LGBTQ+ community…As Well as learning about the history of the LGBTQ+ community and I know Caroline cares in the library also has selections when it comes to diversity and the LGBTQ+ community.”

-What would you personally want to say to students who feel excluded in any way?

Lauren Reiss “The experience of being excluded sadly isn’t uncommon and I just want to remind those folks who feel this way that you are seen, you are worthy, and you are valuable and you are welcome here. And I just wanna remind our student body at large and us as a school community that we really have an impact when it comes to inclusive spaces so just that reminder to spread kindness and compassion and openness to one another.”