WHAT IS OUT FOR SAFE SCHOOLS™?
The National OUT for Safe Schools™ Campaign was created to encourage school staff (including administrators, teachers, bus drivers, etc.) to publicly identify as supportive LGBT allies on campus. Staff who wish to participate in the National OUT for Safe Schools™ Campaign can wear the badges displaying their willingness to talk to students and parents about LGBTQ concerns. This lets students know that “safe spaces” aren’t limited to the classroom but extend to anywhere there is an adult who is wearing this badge. This will spread the reach of the campaign to the areas where the most incidents of victimization occur: on the playground, during lunch time, and in school hallways.
A key feature of the OUT for Safe Schools™ campaign is that it is initiated and implemented through district, county or state offices of education. In order for school staff and community members to truly feel supported wearing their OUT for Safe Schools™’ badge, we believe that it is critical for them to know that they have full backing from their local administration shown by safe and supportive polices, culture, and practices. For this reason, badges are only distributed to adults that are part of our participating OUT for Safe Schools Campaign™ districts.
OUR MISSION & VISION
Our mission is to eliminate the social, emotional and mental health inequities of LGBTQ students by partnering with education agencies on policy, culture and practice initiatives that make schools safe and supportive learning environments.
The OUT for Safe Schools™ vision is that LGBTQ identified youth and adults have the conditions to be OUT and thrive on school campuses across the country.
In 2013, the Los Angeles LGBT Center in partnership with Los Angeles Unified School district introduced the OUT for Safe Schools™ Campaign to encourage school staff to publicly identify as supportive LGBTQ allies in their school communities. In 2015, with the help of the GSA Network and the Safe and Supportive Schools project, the campaign went national and was introduced to 9 other major districts across the country, including: New York Department of Education, DC Public Schools, DC office of the Superintendent, Chicago Public Schools, Duval County Public Schools, San Diego Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District and Oakland Unified School District. The campaign represents a school community’s commitment to supporting staff who want to “come out” as adult allies to LGBTQ students all year long.
We partner with local education agencies to bring OUT for Safe Schools™ badges and resources to your schools. By wearing an OUT for Safe Schools™ badge, school site and district personnel have the opportunity to declare that they are safe space ambassadors and show that they are allies to all LGBTQ students. An OUT for Safe Schools™ ally is someone who advocates for the safety, inclusion and celebration of LGBTQ individuals. An ally might stand up for an LGBTQ individual, speak out against hurtful language, or proactively work to ensure that school climate policies and practices are safe and inclusive for LGBTQ individuals. The badges can be worn voluntarily by administrators, coaches, counselors, teachers, cafeteria workers, clerical and security personnel, who want to be known as resources to students and families.
OUT For Safe Schools™ is made possible, in part, by a generous $100,000 challenge grant from the David & Linda Shaheen Foundation. The philanthropic couple have been longtime supporters of the Center and fearless advocates for education and youth.