The San Francisco school board voted Tuesday night to fund a substantial increase in instruction and services related to gay and lesbian issues.
The school district, facing layoffs and massive program cuts, unanimously agreed that the estimated $120,000 annual price tag was worth it to support for gay and lesbian students — children who are more likely to experience bullying and skip school because they were afraid.
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 identify and safety with their children.
The measure, sponsored by the city’s Youth Commission and its 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.
San Francisco school officials have long backed education and support of gay and lesbian support services and recently created the nation’s first school district website to support educators in addressing LGBTQ topics in the school environment.
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.
More at SFGate.com.