Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SF School Board Passes Gay Support Program

(San Francisco, California) Last week, the San Francisco School Board unanimously approved substantial increases in funding for gay and lesbian instructional services, despite massive revenue shortfalls.
The resolution calls for adding a district position to manage "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning" youth issues. It also requires the district to keep tabs on harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and distribute educational packets every year to parents encouraging them to discuss sexuality, gender identity and safety with their children.

The measure, sponsored by the city's Youth Commission and Human Rights Commission and the district's Student Advisory Council, requires district staff to seek outside funding to cover the costs, but guarantees at least a half-time position and other services regardless.

About 13 percent of San Francisco's middle school students and 11 percent of high school students self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, according to a district survey.

Despite San Francisco's reputation as a gay-friendly city, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students more frequently experience harassment and are more likely to consider suicide, district officials said during the meeting.

In addition, 43 percent of those middle schools students - 430 children - said they didn't go to school because they didn't feel safe compared with 11 percent of heterosexual students.

"It's the data that's driving my decision," said board member Norman Yee, his voice filling with emotion as he wiped away tears.
Heh. Tax dollars tearfully working.

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