Upcoming workshop to offer guidance on protecting LGBTQIA+ students’ rights at school

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Rainbow Kids & Families has partnered with the ACLU of Kansas to host a workshop on the protection of LGBTQIA+ students within the K-12 educational setting.

The passage of Kansas Senate Bill 180 in the spring has caused LGBTQIA+ families to grow increasingly concerned with protecting their students within schools, according to Beth Roselyn, chair of Rainbow Kids & Families. The nonprofit group formed in 2018 to help advocate and support LGBTQIA+ students in Lawrence elementary schools.

SB180, dubbed as an anti-trans state law by advocates, led to the Lawrence City Commission’s passage of a safe-haven law designed to enhance protections for transgender and gender-nonconforming people in Lawrence.

“The political landscape across Kansas, and around the nation, is becoming increasingly hostile toward LGBTQ+ communities, and much of it is targeted specifically at children, including bills to ban access to gender affirming care, book bans targeting books with LGBTQ+ themes and the accurate teaching of American history, and the Kansas attorney general’s outlawing of changing gender markers for trans Kansans,” Roselyn said in an email.

The workshop agenda includes an hourlong presentation by representatives of the ACLU with time for questions afterward. The ACLU’s toolkit, found at this link, focuses on knowing one’s rights inside the classroom and at extracurricular events, advocating for oneself, and where to go for help and support.

Roselyn said the workshop would be geared toward students in K-12 classrooms, and although most of the toolkit focuses on students’ rights at public and charter schools, private school students might also have protections if their school receives federal funding, within their school’s own policies, or under Kansas law.

Protecting LGBTQ+ Students’ Rights at School will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10 in the auditorium of the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St. Pizza and beverages will be provided.

The event is free, but organizers ask those who plan to attend either in person or virtually via Zoom, to RSVP at this link.

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Tricia Masenthin (she/her), equity reporter, can be reached at tmasenthin (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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