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Learning About School Policies

Filed under: Parenting, Schools

There are many ways to find out whether your child's school has incorporated welcoming practices and policies. Among them:

Consult the School Handbook

At the beginning of each school year, many schools will provide parents with a handbook of rules and regulations that should include information about standards of conduct and disciplinary policies, such as those barring anti-gay harassment and discrimination. Look here first to see what policies may be on the books.

Talk with Teachers

Respectfully ask your child's teacher whether they have experience working with lesbian- and gay-headed families and whether they are comfortable addressing these issues in the classroom. Your questions may make some teachers nervous. But others are likely to welcome the opportunity to learn more about the issue. And, in either case, you will be able to gauge something about your child's likely classroom experience.

Speak with the Principal

It is a principal's responsibility to answer parents' questions. So you should feel free to ask him or her about the school's non-discrimination policies, curricular guidelines and any other steps that may have been taken to address the needs of lesbian- and gay-headed families.

Contact Your Local School Board

While a public school principal is required to uphold school policies and curricular guidelines, school boards and districts generally establish them. As a result, they, too, are good resources. Some districts also have a website that posts their policies and curricular guidelines.