Amor Para Todos (APT)—a new committee of the Loma Vista Immersion Academy (LVIA) Parent Teacher Association (PTA)—is run by 29 passionate parents and growing (in just the first month!) who are working to create a more gender inclusive school environment for all of their LGBTQ+ students, with a focus on transgender and non-binary students.
With the wholehearted support of the superintendent, APT's mission is that all students, regardless of gender and sexual orientation feel safe and comfortable at school to be their true authentic selves and to express themselves freely, and are supported and treated with respect by peers, teachers, staff, and school families. We support our LGBTQ+ students as parent allies and help to develop allies within the school.
The numbers on transgender suicide attempts are alarming. According to a 2018 study by the American Academy of Pediatrics:
—About 30 percent of transgender female teens have attempted suicide.
—41.8 percent of non-binary youth have attempted suicide.
—More than half of transgender male teens have attempted suicide.
And Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are two to three times more likely to be bullied as non-LGBTQ peers, are more likely to miss school—impacting graduation rates.
This is why APT created Saving Lives Now, an innovative school reform project for Loma Vista, which is fighting to save their LGBTQ+ students’ lives now— focusing on their transgender and non-binary population.
In the fight to save LGBTQ+ students’ lives, Saving Lives Now’s key strategy is to equip LVIA's teachers and staff with the tools needed to create a more positive, gender inclusive school climate through Welcoming Schools professional development.
The chair and founder of APT is a mother of a young transgender child, who intimately knows the struggles of transgender students and is also a teacher who first-hand knows the importance of early intervention education in schools. Without this foundation of LGBTQ+ education, we cannot move forward as a school community. Even with the most open minded and non-judgmental teachers and staff there is a gap and lack of education to be able to teach transgender and non-binary students. That lack of education can and does contribute to the alarming suicide rates.
A study from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, as reported by Edutopia.org, found that “while 83 percent of educators felt that they should provide a safe environment for their LGBTQ students...only half had taken action to do so...And a lack of professional development on how to address LGBTQ issues and bullying has left teachers ill-equipped to establish LGBTQ-inclusive cultures or to identify anti-LGBTQ behaviors and harassment.”
Training Loma Vista teachers and key classified staff through the Welcoming Schools professional development program will provide them with the resources required to help all LGBTQ+ students thrive, with a focus on transgender and non-binary students. This training will address bias-based bullying and ensure that all families feel welcomed on the Loma Vista campus.
Loma Vista is one of the first elementary schools in Northern California to lead this important movement to educate, protect, and support the elementary school LGBTQ+ student population—and hopes to influence school reform by serving as a model.
By donating to APT, you will be directly funding Welcoming Schools. This will provide our teachers with the professional development modules they need to carry out our Saving Lives Now project. This three-year professional development program will begin in the 2019-2020 school year. Funding is needed now to secure professional development for the 2019-2020 school year.
By donating, you also will be a part of innovative elementary school reform and you will be a part of saving lives.
Loma Vista is a public charter school that offers a dual immersion model for bilingual education and serves students from transitional kindergarten to the sixth grade. Loma Vista is one out of five elementary schools in our Old Adobe Union School district, with the highest numbers of students.