School board approves LGBTQ equality resolution


By City News Service

The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education on Tuesday night unanimously approved a resolution to provide a safe environment and equal opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students.

The resolution stems from the September suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi after video showing him having sex with another man was streamed broadcast on the Internet.

There has been a rash of suicides of younger members of the LGBT community in recent months, said Board of Education President Richard Barrera.

“We are lucky we have not had a situation here in San Diego, but we don’t want to have to wait in San Diego to have a tragedy,” Barrera said.

The resolution calls for cultural sensitivity training of staff of how to handle harassment they witness, and for counseling and discipline for students who engage in bullying.

Board members asked for Superintendent Bill Kowba to return with a report on updating district policies and procedures on the issue.

Also at the meeting, trustees heard a report that charter schools associated with the district gained 1,175 students this year, while district-run schools lost 807 pupils.

The enrollment losses hit the district the hardest on middle and high school campuses, Kowba said.

Charter schools are offering more opportunities for students in higher grades, Kowba said.

“There is a correlation there we have to recognize,” Kowba said.

The district has made increasing attendance a priority this year, in order to gain more funding from the state.