In the 2015-2016 school year, Hartford Public Schools, in collaboration with the LGBTQQ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning), will train its principals on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression.

The training will also be provided to central office staff and faculty, and will cover state and federal nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sex, gender identity and expression, and sexual orientation, as well as steps educators can take to create welcoming environments for LGBTQQ students and families.

The school system, which educates more than 21,000 students, has been working with advocates for the LGBTQQ community, including representatives of Greater Hartford Legal Aid (GHLA), and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), to enhance and implement its training on these issues, as an outgrowth of the 2011 Connecticut state law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.

“We’re glad that Hartford Public Schools is addressing LGBTQQ inclusion,” says Giovanna Shay, the attorney who leads the Education Unit at Greater Hartford Legal Aid (GHLA). “We know from our work with Hartford students that these issues affect our clients and their families, and we are happy that HPS is being proactive.”

Vickie Henry, Director of GLAD’s Youth Initiative, “GLAD hears about bullying, harassment, and discrimination from families and students from all over New England, and it’s great to see Hartford stepping up. This is a very positive step for Hartford and all its students, because all students do better in welcoming environments.”

“At Hartford Public Schools, providing a welcoming environment for all students is central to my stated goal of achieving educational excellence throughout the school system – no exceptions,” said Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez. “I welcome the opportunity to train our principals and staff on LBGTQQ issues, as it will take us closer to meeting that objective.”