ALEXANDRIA, Va., (July 5, 2016)—National PTA, the nation’s oldest and largest child advocacy association, adopted a resolution during its 2016 Annual Convention & Expo in Orlando, Fla. on the Recognition of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Individuals as a Protected Class. The resolution calls for federal policies that specifically protect LGBTQ youth and local practices that create and maintain safe, affirming and inclusive learning environments for all students.
“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. “National PTA delegates have taken a stand to push for policies and protections for LGBTQ youth to make sure they have positive school experiences.”
As outlined in the resolution, National PTA and its constituent associations will advocate for legislation that explicitly recognizes LGBTQ as a protected group and addresses discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. The association will also seek to ensure educators have the training to support all students and that health education standards appropriately address the issues of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
To this end, National PTA encourages state, councils and local units nationwide to review district and school policies that address bullying and support revisions and amendments to these policies that specifically discuss sexual orientation and gender identification/expression as they relate to harassment and discrimination.
“It has long been a top priority of National PTA to make sure all children have a safe, supportive and positive environment in which to thrive and learn. There is an urgent need for explicit protection of LGBTQ youth,” said Shannon Sevier, vice president of advocacy for National PTA. “The adoption of the resolution builds on the association’s long-standing position against bullying and is an important step to further direct and inform advocacy efforts of National PTA and PTAs across the country. The association remains committed to working with policymakers and education leaders at the federal, state and local levels to strengthen protections for all children and improve education.”
National PTA delegates also adopted resolutions on Electronic Cigarettes and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) and Youth, Homework: Quality Over Quantity and Water Safety and Instruction during the 2016 Annual Convention & Expo.
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.
Heidi May Wilson, National PTA