Next week, the Austin Independent School District will embrace the LGBTQIA rainbow by celebrating Pride Week, unequivocally supporting our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual-identifying members of the AISD community. Rainbow stickers will abound! Students will engage in thought-provoking, community-building activities! LGBTQIA allies will come out of the woodwork, panels will speak on local LGBTQIA issues, and schools will show their pride in diverse ways that represent the multitude of campus cultures across our city. AISD’s Number 1 Core Belief from our Strategic Plan Framework is that “All students will graduate college-, career-, and life-ready.” And, as Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz often reinforces,
Studies show and people know that students who feel heard, seen, and safe at school learn more and enjoy better academic and personal outcomes. This safety and inclusiveness is critical for students who identify as LGBTQIA–these are the students who suffer the most bullying, miss more school days due to fear of harassment, and tragically represent high rates of attempted and completed suicide. Since some reports suggest that as many as 1 in every 9 American students identify as LGBTQIA, intentional focus on creating safe, welcoming and inclusive school environments is a critical issue. In the wise words of our own Pam Martin, Social and Emotional Learning Parent Support Specialist,
“As humans we all have a need to belong. When students don’t feel as though they belong, they do one of two things: they act out or retreat. Sometimes they retreat in the ultimate way, and none of us want that for our children.”
This year, the Austin Independent School District debuts an online Pride Week Toolkit full of resources and activities, like this lesson plan from the Anti-Defamation League addressing this “Love Has No Labels” video by AdCouncil:
There are posters to put up all around campus:
We are #AISDproud to be a school district that leads the way in creating welcoming, safe, inclusive educational environments for every single student, every single day. Stay tuned to the #AISDpride hashtag on Twitter, and your favorite AISD Social and Emotional Learning blog, for AISD Pride Week updates from around the ATX!