…interested in serving in these positions and on the Equity Team to develop curriculum and policies to be compliant with the FAIR act and to make our schools safer and more inclusive spaces. To apply or nominate, please e-mail Tricia Cowen or Alyson Brauning by Friday, September 12th.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender – GLBT Chair
No one should have to be afraid being gay in school. Yet 84.6% of LBGT students were verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation and 63.7% were harassed because of their gender expression (acting “too masculine” or “too feminine”). This harassment impacts student learning and attendance and many more instances of harassment are not reported. Similarly, GLBT teachers experience harassment from colleagues and students or live under the oppression of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. However, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, staff and teachers should have the freedom to be open (or not) about their identity in schools. The VTA GLBT Chair and the VTA Equity Team strive to create safe school environments for GLBT youth, staff and teachers and to protect their right to be safe and visible, to have their identity embraced rather than belittled or erased.
Ethnic Minority Chair
The intent of the VTA Ethnic Minority Chair is to promote equity, civil rights and valuing diversity to strengthen our learning communities. The unfortunate reality is that discrimination based on ethnicity continues to plague teachers and students. As of the 2009-2010 school year, public school enrollment in California by county reported 80% non white students, many of whom have experienced incidents of racism. Racism can be defined as any incident perceived as racist by the victim or any other person, ranging from stereotypical comments and jokes to institutional racism like tracking and exclusion of minority representation in history curriculum, to overtly racist acts like hate crimes and bullying. The VTA Ethnic Minority Chair will raise awareness about these issues and the importance of reporting such instances. The VTA Ethnic Minority Chair will also support the recruitment and retention of diverse teaching force, administration and VTA leadership and representatives. VTA leadership, school administration and teaching staffs remain predominantly white, despite a majority of nonwhite students. Current hiring practices do not reflect the ethnicity of our student populations, yet role models for students are invaluable. The VTA Human Rights Chair will also collaborate with the VTA Ethnic Minority Chair and the VTA GLBT Chair on the VTA Equity Team, working to ensure safe and just environments in Vacaville Unified Schools.