The Office of of Student Health and Wellness recognizes that there are a number of strategies which can be used to enhance school climate and make schools safer and more welcoming to LGBTQ students. The Office of Student Health and Wellness offers two professional developments around creating safe and supportive environments for LGBTQ and all youth to school staff and administration.
OUT for Safe Schools is a national campaign that helps educators, administrators, and other school district employees ‘come out’ as visible allies for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students and staff. As part of the campaign, participating staff wear badges identifying themselves as allies in order to make school a safer, more welcoming place.
CPS participation reflects our continual effort to remove health-related barriers to learning, to foster inclusive, supportive school climates, and to address all dimensions of student health and wellness – thereby fostering a Healthy CPS not only for LGBTQ students and staff, but for everyone in our community. For more information about the national campaign, visit www.outforsafeschools.org.
All students need a safe and supportive school environment to progress academically and developmentally. CPS staff, parents, and students all play an important part in creating and sustaining that environment. In order to better support transgender and gender nonconforming students, school principals shall ensure that the Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Guidelines (guidelines) are implemented at the school level.
The Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Guidelines (Guidelines) outline how to support gender expansive students, including providing access to appropriate facilities. Additionally, the CPS Supporting Gender Diversity Toolkit (Toolkit) was created for students, staff, and parents/guardians to understand how to implement the Guidelines.
If the student or parent/guardian expresses a desire for additional supports and/or accommodations:
The principal may convene the Student Administrative Support Team to assist with timely and appropriate accommodations. The team is responsible for constructing a support plan (included in the Toolkit) which addresses the supports and accommodations provided to the student. The team should work closely with the student and/or the parent/guardian, if appropriate, to discuss individual needs and additional supports. The student’s support plan shall be kept in the student’s health folder and may be shared only with staff members who have a legitimate health, safety, or educational interest in the information. Please see the full guidelines for more information.
The Office of Student Health and Wellness has worked with their evaluation partners at University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health's Policy, Practice, and Prevention Research Center (P3RC) to produce a report, LGBTQ Health in Chicago Public Schools: Working Towards Equity. This report compiles findings from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey focused on the health and experiences of LGBTQ high school students in CPS. As the report describes in detail, LGBTQ youth in Chicago face significantly higher rates of depression, suicidality, substance use, bullying, violence, pregnancy, and STI & HIV testing compared to their non-LGBTQ peers. In addition, the report outlines efforts within CPS to address these disparate health outcomes and provides suggestions for how communities can work to address LGBTQ health equity issues.