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Dignity for All

Dignity for All
Safeguarding LGBT Students

Other Titles in:
LGBT Issues | Leadership | School Culture

March 2012 | 136 pages | Corwin

Published in Association with National Association of School Psychologists

All students deserve a safe, respectful school environment

Students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered are susceptible to harassment from their peers and are at high risk of dropping out of school. This book provides professional development ideas and real-life vignettes that will help educational leaders foster a more caring school culture not only for LGBT students, but for all students. Peter DeWitt presents specific strategies for school leaders that include:

  • Implementing a student code of conduct and school board policies to safeguard students
  • Helping staff members recognize and respond to overt and covert LGBT issues
  • Professional development guidelines to equip staff to intervene
  • Ways to include appropriate LGBT topics in the curriculum
  • Supporting Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) in middle and high school settings

This practical and compassionate guide contains numerous cases and examples, strategies and templates for codes of conduct (including the NY Code), book study questions, and links to pertinent articles, websites, and blogs for further information. Dignity for All helps inform educators of the issues and methods for building acceptance in a diverse world.

About the Author
1. The Silent Minority
Our School Experiences  
What It Means to Be Gay  
The Need for Role Models  
Harassment and Discrimination of LGBT Students  
Negative Stereotypes of LGBT Students  
Action Steps  
Discussion Questions  
2. Bullying of LGBT Students
Where Bullying Behavior Begins  
Setting the Tone in School  
Safeguarding and Supporting LGBT Students  
Action Steps  
Discussion Questions  
3. The Role of Schools
The Impact Schools Can Have on LGBT Students  
Keeping Students Safe  
Teacher Biases  
Professional Development  
Parent Outreach  
Action Steps  
Discussion Questions  
4. Curriculum Matters
Diverse Literature at an Age-Appropriate Level  
Supportive Learning Environments for LGBT Students  
Elementary School Gender Differences and Character Education  
English Language Arts  
Social Studies  
Guest Speakers Who Address Bullying  
After-School Enrichment  
Action Steps  
Discussion Questions  
5. Gay-Straight Alliances
Why Schools Should Offer a GSA  
The Parameters of Creating a GSA  
Events Held by a GSA  
Action Steps  
Discussion Questions  
6. Following Through: School Board Policies and Codes of Conduct
Laws That Support School Decisions  
School Leaders Embracing the Sexual Diversity of Students  
A Shared Vision: Creating School Codes of Conduct  
Creating School Board Policies  
How Parents, Staff, and Students Can Help  
Action Steps  
Discussion Questions  
Questions to Ponder  
7. Important Stories From Higher Education
Appendix: NASP Position Statement: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth

"Dignity for All is a wise book that will help administrators, teachers, and parents work together to make sure that our schools are welcoming for all of our students. Peter DeWitt provides the insight and ideas to lead the way in including LGBT students."

Diane Ravitch, Research Professor
New York University

"In this book, a group of students that is often misunderstood and frequently maligned finds a voice. Educators whose reach extends to every student will discover here a deeper understanding of these students’ needs as well as sound advice on addressing those needs."

Carol Ann Tomlinson, William Clay Parrish, Jr. Professor
University of Virginia Curry School of Education

“Leaders set the tone for their buildings. Peter DeWitt offers an important resource for teachers and administrators that will help create an inclusive school for all students.”

Todd Whitaker, Professor
Dept of Educational Leadership, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN

"Dignity for All provides educators with critical information on the experiences of LGBT students in our schools and how to create safe and affirming spaces for these youth. Grounded in his experience as a teacher and school administrator, Peter DeWitt makes vital knowledge accessible for those on the front lines in schools."

Eliza Byard, Executive Director
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)

"This book is a valuable resource guide for schools considering a course of action. It is recommended for all high schools seeking progressive change."

Kevin Beach
VOYA, August 2012

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1: The Silent Minority

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ISBN: 9781452205908

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