The National PTA is taking a stand to push for federal policies to ensure LGBTQ individuals are recognized as a protected class—an effort to protect students from bullying and discrimination.
The PTA, which touts itself as the oldest and largest child advocacy group and has about 4 million members, last weekend adopted a resolution on the issue, Recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Individuals as a Protected Class.
The group’s annual convention was held in Orlando, Fla., over the weekend.
As part of the resolution, the group stated it would support legislation that “addresses discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.”
“Every child deserves to go to school excited to learn in a safe and nurturing environment, without the fear of bullying, violence, or discrimination. However, the vast majority of LGBTQ students are bullied, physically assaulted, and feel unsafe in school because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or identity,” said Laura Bay, president of National PTA, in a statement.
“National PTA delegates have taken a stand to push for policies and protections for LGBTQ youth to make sure they have positive school experiences.”
The resolution comes at a time that schools are increasingly facing issues related to such youth and their families, including curriculum and programs at schools.
This year, the major topic has been the issue of bathrooms for transgender students. The PTA resolution does not specifically address the bathroom issue. See questions and answers about the Obama administration’s guidance on transgender students’ rights and the national backlash.
Last year, schools were exploring parent and student issues related to the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage, while bullying remains a major issue that schools are tackling.
The National PTA previously has put out guidance on how PTAs can welcome and support families of LGBTQ children.
See an infographic by the PTA about the importance of support groups for such students.
Also, during the convention, U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. gave a speech, calling on parents to take charge of improving diversity among their students and teachers.
See other resolutions passed by the National PTA at the convention.
A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.