Policy & Advocacy

Policies That Matter

Our Commitment to Safe Schools: Policy, Advocacy, & Action

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GLSEN Has a Record of Policy Victories

On the federal level, GLSEN has built record support for our flagship legislation, the Safe Schools Improvement Act. This legislation would require school districts to: adopt policies that protect students from bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and religion; and collect data on bullying in their schools. We engage with the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies to create and enforce policies and practices that support safe and affirming schools.

GLSEN has a long history of impact in advancing statewide LGBTQ inclusive education laws. Investment in the support for chapter and state advocates plus exceptional model policy language, has resulted in 21 states with LGBTQ inclusive anti-harassment and -bullying law and 16 states with LGBTQ inclusive non-discrimination education laws. Predictably every year, the policy team engages in efforts in states to push back against attacks on the rights of LGBTQ students. Additionally, GLSEN also works to support State Departments of Education in crafting guidance for school districts on best practices for supporting all students.  

Many policies and practices that impact the lives of LGBTQ students are created and implemented by school districts. GLSEN supports advocates looking to make policy change at the district, local, and even school level.  From policies designed to support transgender and gender nonconforming students to school level anti-bullying policies, our model policy toolkit can help you get started in your community. 

A quality K-12 education is a fundamental right for every student.

GLSEN’s Public Policy team works with policymakers and advocates at all levels of government to ensure that the most comprehensive and inclusive safe schools policies are considered, passed, and implemented.

Federal Level Legislation and Administration

Through our Public Policy office in Washington, DC, we work with federal policymakers in Congress and the Department of Education to create and enact policies that make schools more affirming for LGBTQ students and safer for all.

Hands drawing on a protest poster.

Holding poster that says “Let Youth Lead.

State Level Legislation and Administration 

Decision makers at the state legislative and administrative level have a significant impact on the education resources and policies. From passing LGBTQ-inclusive anti-bullying policies to stopping harmful legislation, see how GLSEN is working in states across the country to improve the lives of students in K-12 students.

School District Policies

School districts and individual schools craft and implement the majority of policies that directly impact students every day. We work with GLSEN chapters, families, students, educators, and community advocates to support schools and districts in creating safe and LGBTQ-inclusive school climates, in districts in every corner of every state. 

 

Students getting on a bus.

Student entering a men’s restroom while looking at the women’s restroom sign.

Policy Resources

GLSEN advocates for making schools safer for LGBTQ young students through the passage of laws and policies that protect them from harassment, bullying, and discrimination. 

GLSEN has created a toolkit of evidence-based model policies and policy recommendations based on what’s working across the country and what our expertise shows us will make schools safer for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Our policy toolkit, including our model policies and “Respect for All: Policy Recommendations to Support LGBTQ Students,” is intended for application and adaptation to any community, at any scale. Bring our policy resources to your superintendent or principal, your school board, or even your state legislature to advocate for policies to support safe and affirming schools for all.

If you’re interested in making your school a safer space, we’re here to help. GLSEN has developed and made available a range of tools for individuals and groups working at any level to implement a safe schools campaign.

Action Center

Together, we are a movement of action-takers. We are students, educators, faith leaders, families, and community members who know that we can be effective when we work together, use our voices, and center the experiences of LGBTQ youth in policy change. We envision a future where LGBTQ students feel safe and affirmed at school, and we’re asking you to join us in creating it right now. Take action in support of policies that make schools safer for all and in opposition to pending threats.

Group of advocates holding GLSEN signs and pride flags.