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Austin ISD Celebrates Inaugural Pride Week

For the first time, the Austin Independent School District is celebrating Pride Week, which will feature conversations and celebrations to show support for their lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender staff and students.

The week will starts with a kick-off celebration this afternoon at district headquarters. There will be a panel of LGBT and civil rights leaders, along with a photographic exhibit. 

Later this week, the district will hold a similar discussion for students. In the past year, Austin ISD has worked to become a more inclusive community for staff and students.

It’s the largest school district in the country designated as a “No Place for Hate District.” Allison Daskam with the school district says they want all their students to feel included at school.

“For a student who is struggling there’s nothing more important than knowing you are safe and a school district is a very important place to make that statement,” says Daskam.

The district says it’s also working to clarify district policy to be more inclusive. And the district is planning to roll out a new curriculum called Welcoming Schools. Beverly Reeves is the district’s ombudsman. She says the curriculum teaches students to be more inclusive.

“You have a single mother, single father. You have two mothers, two dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles and families don’t look the same,” Daskam says. “So we’re bringing into a dialogue so we have our families or students who are LGBT that it’s not a shock or surprise or out of the norm.”

The curriculum is not mandatory, but can be used at elementary schools, if they are interested, as part of the district’s Social and Emotional learning program.

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