Welcoming and Safe Schools
By Mary Beth Klotz
NASP Coalitions and Partnership Activities
NASP participates in a number of coalitions and partnership groups with allied educational and mental health organizations in order to advance the advocacy goals in NASP's strategic plan. One of these key groups is the National Workgroup to Address the Needs of Children and Youth Who Are LGBTQI2-S and Their Families, which is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The mission of the workgroup is to support and enhance services for children and youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, and/or twospirit (LGBTQI2-S) in the systems that serve them such as child welfare, education, and juvenile justice. Members of the workgroup comprise diverse and knowledgeable advocates including youth, family members, school-based and clinical mental health providers, program administrators, technical assistance providers, evaluators and researchers, cultural and linguistic competence experts, and SAMHSA project officers and staff. The workgroup meets during conference calls and at an annual in-person meeting.
Workgroup members help identify specific strategies and interventions that can be applied within the system of care program and throughout schools and communities across the country. The objectives of the group are to: (a) promote full, positive inclusion of LGBTQI2-S youth; (b) foster collaborative partnerships to increase awareness, promote acceptance, and reduce stigma; and (c) support development, dissemination, and implementation of culturally competent policies, programs, and resources. These objectives align closely with NASP's (2012) diversity, external relationships, and advocacy strategic priorities and themes.
LGBTQI-2S Workgroup Activities
The workgroup has a number of products in development and ongoing activities that include a quick guide for professionals working with LGBTQI- 2S children and youth, a resource toolkit on a jump drive with more than 150 resources, technical assistance activities (e.g., responding to community requests and questions, conference presentations), social marketing activities, and weekly national and workgroup updates. These weekly updates are available on the workgroup's website (http://tapartnership.org/COP/CLC/searchByDate.php), offer information about current issues and news from the field, and share new LGBTQI2-S resources and upcoming events. Additionally, numerous workgroup members contributed chapters to the recent book, Improving Emotional and Behavioral Outcomes for LGBT Youth: A Guide for Professionals (Fisher, Poirier, & Blau, 2012).
NASP GLBTQ Committee
The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth (GLBTQ) Committee is part of NASP's Advocacy Program Area. The committee was established to identify actions that the association can take to fulfill the spirit of the position statement on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth (NASP, 2011). NASP believes that school psychologists are ethically obligated to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity for the development and expression of their personal identity in a school climate that is safe, accepting, and respectful of all persons and free from discrimination, harassment, violence, and abuse. To help achieve this goal, volunteers from the GLBTQ Committee have sponsored research into best practices for GLBTQ youth and families, written a number of publications and policy statements, and offered professional development sessions at NASP's and other advocacy organizations' annual conventions. The committee has also developed online graduate school and continuing professional development training; designed and distributed antibullying posters for classrooms; served as a clearinghouse for local, state, and national advocacy events and issues; and collaborated with allied groups such as APA Division 44, The Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign, and the National Workgroup on LGBTQI-2S Children and Youth (highlighted above). To access these resources or to volunteer to get involved with the work of the committee, interested NASP members may sign up for the GLBTQ Community (http://com munities.nasponline.org/NASPON LINE/Home) and visit the GLBTQ Committee's webpage (http://www.nasponline.org/advocacy/glb.aspx).
References and Resources
Fisher, S. K., Poirier, J. M., & Blau, G. M. (Eds.). (2012). Improving emotional and behavioral outcomes for LGBT youth: A guide for professionals. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.
National Association of School Psychologists. (2011). Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth (Position Statement). Bethesda, MD: Author.
National Association of School Psychologists. (2012). Vision, mission, core values, and priorities. Retrieved from http://www.nasponline.org/about_nasp/strategicplan.pdf
Mary Beth Klotz, PhD, NCSP, is NASP Director, Educational Practice