Taking Pride in Our LGBTQ+ Community
June is a special time for our school community: the last day of school, graduations and celebrations, Juneteenth, and of course, Pride Month. In Saint Paul Public Schools, we believe in creating a safe and welcoming school environment that fosters positive self-esteem, respect for others, and academic success for all students. In a time of increased hostility and cultural politics, these values are more important than ever for our LGBTQ+ students, families and staff.
Research has shown that LGBTQIA+ students have better health and educational outcomes when they experience these four things in schools: inclusive curriculum, LGBTQIA+ student clubs, inclusive policies and supportive educators. SPPS has had an official gender inclusion policy since 2015, which exists to ensure that all students have equitable access to safe and comfortable programming, athletics and facilities.
Transgender and non-binary students have the right to have their names and pronouns respected by all staff and students, participate in sports based on their consistent gender identity, and use facilities that match their gender identity. If a student is transgender or non-binary, their school records can be updated to reflect their name, gender and pronoun.
The SPPS Out for Equity program advocates for gender equitable practices, programs and policies through programming, professional development and strategic partnerships. This month, all are invited to participate in Saint Paul Youth Pride events including TC Pride Family Fun Day on June 18 at Como Park. SPPS also honors LGBTQ+ graduating seniors with the opportunity to wear a rainbow tassel at their commencement.
I am proud to lead a district that supports and affirms our community members’ identities and prohibits exclusion and inequitable practices. This Pride Month, let us all celebrate our amazing LGBTQ+ students, staff and families. Thank you for being part of our SPPS community.
Joe Gothard, Superintendent