Inclusivity for Every Child

by Guest Contributors

The National Parent Teacher Association has taken a strong official stand to push for policies and protections for LGBTQ youth.

Post submitted by Nathan R. Monell, CAE is the executive director of National PTA and a father of two public school students. National PTA is proud to collaborate with The Human Rights Campaign to develop resources to help our members better understand how to support and welcome students and families from the LGBTQ community.

At National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) we have a saying, Every Child. One Voice. This is more than just a slogan to our members—it’s an identity and a purpose. At PTA, we believe that every child deserves to go to school excited to learn in a safe and nurturing environment, without the fear of bullying, violence or discrimination—including LGBTQ youth.

Most LGBTQ youth report that they have experienced verbal harassment and discrimination at school, and due to feeling unsafe or uncomfortable, a third of the population missed at least one day of school. It’s clear that there’s an urgent need for explicit protection for these children to create safe, affirming and inclusive learning environments.

We have taken a strong official stand to push for policies and protections for LGBTQ youth. Our association advocates for legislation that explicitly recognizes LGBTQ individuals as a protected group and addresses discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. We also seek to ensure educators have training to support all students and that health education standards appropriately address the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.

As families across the country head back to school, we are encouraging our members to work with their school administrators to create inclusive and supportive environments. Our Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit helps PTAs and schools ensure that all families feel welcome and supported in the new school year. Additionally, our Connect for Respect initiative helps students, families and educators to create school climates full of safe and supportive peer relationships.

With bullying on the rise in our nation’s classrooms, it’s important to emphasize inclusivity in our communities, especially for our children. From advocating for federal, state and school policies that address sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, to supporting student-led initiatives that facilitate a climate of acceptance and inclusion, there are many ways to support LGBTQ youth and turn the tide. 

To quote Jazz Jennings, Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen:

“Change happens through understanding, and one of my biggest hopes is that our next generation of kids will grow up in a world with more compassion.”

At PTA, we know that while our differences matter, we are strongest together. Every parent wants the same things for their children—healthy, safety, opportunity. This school year, let’s commit to truly speaking for every child with one voice.