lot of LGBTQ parents out there are generally pleased with the
school environments their kids are in. Oftentimes these parents
find it hard to get energized around pushing for specific LGBTQ
inclusive policies at their schools because the schools are already
doing a decent job of including our families. It’s an
understandable dilemma. You don’t want to rock the boat because
the boat—right now, at least—is moving along pretty well.
Or is it?
The problem with generally good schools without specific policies
that protect our families is that, in the event that there ever is
a serious problem or incident, you, the parent, may have little to
no legal ground to stand on, should you need to take the issue to
the police or courts. A school with a fantastically inclusive
principal may unknowingly hire a homophobic teacher, who sometime
during the year tells the kids that “married mom and dad
couples” are the only real kind of parents in the world.
Catastrophe! So you go to the principal, normally an ally,
and for a number of reasons—she/he is worried about backlash from
the school board, a local teachers union, etc.—she/he gives you
the cold shoulder. All of a sudden the great school you thought
your children were in no longer seems so great. Where do you
If you’d started earlier, before the homophobic incident, working
with the administration to put their good behavior toward LGBTQ
families on paper—writing and implementing nondiscrimination
& anti-harassment policies, curricular changes to include our
families, etc.—you’d be able to show the principal that her or
his inaction was against school policy and potentially illegal.
No one wants to imagine a time in which this conversation would
take place. But it’s better to plan ahead than be caught
unawares. Think of protective school policies like life
insurance—invest in it now so it’s there for you later.
To find out more about protecting the children of LGBTQ parents in
schools, fill out the Rainbow Report Card, an
interactive, personalized online tool that gives doable
recommendations to parents and allies on how to make schools safe
and inclusive of all loving families.