HRC Blog

D.C. School Takes Pride in Welcoming Students with LGBT Parents

This post comes from Kim Westheimer, director of HRC Foundation's Welcoming Schools:

Kudos to the Oyster-Adams Bilingual School, which was featured in a Washington Post article this weekend about work being done in D.C. public elementary schools to create more welcoming environments for children with LGBT parents. School officials interviewed for the story say it’s important to instill these lessons early on before teasing and bullying cloud children's perceptions of what it means to be LGBT.

If the schools that are using HRC's Welcoming Schools initiative are any indicator, the changes in this school didn’t happen overnight. The article highlights the power of parent advocacy in making changes.

"Parents from some of the 20 or so gay families at the school met with teachers and the principal in January," the article reads. "The group helped persuade administrators to rethink the school’s approach to how classes handle Mother’s Day activities. This spring, the school will observe a “Family Day” that won’t exclude gay dads or other nontraditional families."

The article also described how LGBT parents can sometimes be caught by surprise when their children talk about being bullied. Julie Garnier, a lesbian mother featured in the Post article, said she was surprised how soon her son encountered bullying.

"Jourdan was 7 years old when he came home from summer camp two years ago and asked, “What is gay?" the article reads. "Even though he is growing up with lesbian moms and surrounded by friends with gay parents, Jourdan had never put a word to what might be different about his family, until some teenage counselors began teasing him."

Helping educators and parents provide students with appropriate language to talk about LGBT people is one of the most popular aspects of Welcoming Schools.  These skills and other resources will be highlighted in an “introduction to Welcoming Schools” which will be held on April 27th at the HRC offices. The daylong event is designed for D.C.- area schools to send teams including educators, administrators and parents so that they can learn more about the rationale and implementation of Welcoming Schools. 

For more information about Welcoming Schools or the April 27th Introduction To Welcoming Schools, e-mail us at welcomingschools@hrc.org

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