To the Editor:
Sabia Prescott’s opinion essay questions whether schools are doing enough for LGBTQ students. The answer is no (“What Teachers Need to Know to Do Right by Queer Students,” July 21, 2019).
LGBTQ students are frequently left out of current conversations and proclamations of “diversity” and “inclusion” at both local and national levels. One cannot have a transparent discussion about diversity if it omits some groups of people, and the term LGBTQ is often not explicitly named.
One’s choice of words make unfamiliar concepts or terms transparent to an audience, so we need courageous conversations in both society and our schools about LGBTQ students. Their education is compromised by a lack of inclusion of issues relevant to their lives, including bullying, mental-health support, and LGBTQ-related curriculum topics.
Prescott clearly notes that sharing LGBTQ-instructional resources with educators and students is crucial to serving all students, especially those who are LGBTQ. Without current, accurate information presented and infused into the content areas, gaps in knowledge are quickly flooded with myths and damaging stories.
Prescott also points out meaningful progress in states like California and New Jersey, which are implementing LGBTQ-inclusive instructional materials. Much work went into making this happen on the part of both LGBTQ educators and allies. More work must be done so that millions of school children of all ages learn about the LGBTQ community’s contributions to our country and ongoing civil rights struggle.
To wait any longer to address these concerns will negatively impact the lives of our students each day. Don’t let that happen.
Joseph M. Russo
Retired School Administrator
A version of this article appeared in the August 28, 2019 edition of Education Week as Don’t Neglect LGBTQ Students