District hears from GSA clubs at all CVUSD high schools

Instead of a normal Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Club meeting last Friday, Feb. 7, CVUSD officials visited the club to hear from the students about their experiences. Lisa Miller, Assistant Superintendent of Student Support Services, Brian Mercer, Director of High School Education and Assessment, and Kenny Loo, Director of Middle School Education and Professional Learning, asked students at the meeting about times they felt supported by the school district and about when they did not.

“We feel a responsibility to make sure that every student in our school district feels safe, and that there (are) places to go for support. And in order for us to do that, we also recognize that we then need to provide training and guidance to our staff,” Miller said as she addressed members of the club. “We need to hear from you, as the students, about your experiences.” 

District staff visited GSA clubs at Westlake and Thousand Oaks high schools to receive confidential feedback from students of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. 

“The district approached us with this idea,” Lily Lindros, senior and club secretary said. “There’s a lot of harassment that goes on that is kind of not approached by administration on a normal case. So the district is coming to say, ‘how can we train teachers to be more inclusive and… to get student input on that.’”

Micah Snodgrass, freshmen felt that the meeting accomplished what he hoped it would. “I liked the feedback, that it will be supportive to me and what it can be, and I’m really excited to see what comes of the future,” Snodgrass said. “I think it’s an important issue for the safety of people’s lives because I’ve had friends who have been threatened or who have gone through a lot of harsh things throughout their life and I just don’t want that to happen to anybody else.”

Club advisor Lucia Lemieux, English teacher, said that she believes “it’s a sign that the district is moving in the right direction.” 

GSA works throughout the year on finding ways to inclusive of all students, and club members said they were happy for a chance to speak with the district.

“We’re always advocating, whether it seems like we are or not,” Lemieux said. “We’re constantly talking to other kids saying, ‘Come on in, it’s safe,’ or we’re advocating on a higher level for change.”

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