December 13, 2010
>Salt Lake City School District Works with Community Leaders to Pass Crucial School Policies
>By Alison Gil
On Tuesday, December 6th the Salt Lake City School District Board of Education made history by passing two crucial school policies—a nondiscrimination policy and an anti-bullying and harassment policy, both provide specific protections to LGBT students. These policies are the first fully inclusive school district policies that apply to LGBT students in Utah.
GLSEN has been working with Board of Education members and local organizations for some time in order to help support this needed policy change. We would like to applaud and congratulate the Utah organizations whose leadership and determination made this victory possible, including Equality Utah, PFLAG Salt Lake City, the ACLU of Utah, the Utah Steering Committee for the Human Rights Campaign, the Inclusion Center for Community and Justice, and the Utah Pride Center.
While there has been a great deal of support in Salt Lake City for an inclusive anti-bullying policy, the nondiscrimination policy was a much more difficult issue to resolve. There were some concerns among the Board about the inclusion of gender identity protection in the new policy due to the fact that the policy applies to both students and educators. Through the process of education, addressing policy concerns, and steadily advocating for policy change, local advocates were able to work with the Board of Education to pass policies that will protect ALL Salt Lake City students, including transgender students.
These policy changes help to demonstrate that, while statewide anti-bullying or nondiscrimination legislation may not be politically possible, substantial progress can be made in local school districts that will have immediate positive benefits for students. Moreover, these local policy changes can help support future state legislative efforts. We hope to work with local advocates to build upon these successes by passing similar policies in several other Utah school districts.