The Fight Continues

In the News Again: Public Schools, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, and LGBTQ+ Youth

Recently, I saw a story featured on my local news station KARE 11/NBC about the Anoka-Hennepin School District, the largest public school system in Minnesota.

There is a battle in motion led by several school board members to eliminate any educational or support programs related to racial justice, diversity, equity and inclusion, and sexual and gender identity.

Basically, the effort is an effort to stop educators from attending to the needs of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ young people in this school district. I immediately worried Minnesota could become Florida

This story immediately brought me back to 1992, when I pitched, initiated, and developed a program in St. Paul Public Schools called Out for Equity. This program serving LGBT youth started in March of 1994, a long 30 years ago.  It still exists.  And it exists in Minnesota, a state where LGBTQ+ rights are protected and considered civil rights. Learn more about the origins and history of the Out for Equity program here.

30 years ago, a similar conversation was in motion when the school board members of St. Paul Public Schools argued about whether or not they should fund the Out for Equity program with public tax dollars. The school board allowed the development of the program, but funded by a high risk youth grant from the Minnesota Department of Education. After the first 3 years, the school board voted to move the program to the general fund that was supported by public tax dollars.

Out for Equity still exists. It began 30 years ago.  Yet, today  the fight for diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) effortsI and LGBTQ+ youth in public schools continues.  

As an important note, Minnesota is considered a state with very strong and positive laws to support the rights of LGBTQ+ people.  In Minnesota, LGBTQ+ rights are civil rights. 

I want to encourage all of my supervisees to consider their role in macro practice on issues related to LGBTQ+ youth and diversity and equity efforts in public schools.  I have put several links here that will help you learn about what laws and programs exist in Minnesota on these issues.

Read more here about MN laws protecting rights of LGBTQ+ people here.

Here is a link to the Minnesota Department of Education where you can read about the state and federal policies addressing the needs and rights of LGBTQ+ youth in Minnesota Schools.

OutFront MN is an important Minnesota resource for addressing LGBTQ+ issues in Minnesota schools.  It would be interesting to reach out to them to see what’s happening on LGBTQ+ and DEI issues in your region.