The work of the Safe and Supportive Schools program at Equality California Institute is guided and informed by our Safe and Supportive Schools Advisory Committee, a group of representatives from districts, teachers’ unions, and community organizations that provides feedback and assistance in our work. We acknowledge all the members of the Advisory Committee, but are particularly indebted to our co-chairs, James Williamson and Anthony Duarte; district representatives Erica Hasenbeck, Kena Hazelwood, Erik Martinez, and Dr. Angelov Farooq; teachers’ union representatives C. Scott Miller and Jeff Freitas; and organizational representatives Rick Oculto, Rob Darrow, Lex Ortega, Vinnie Pompei, Stephanie Camacho-Van Dyke, Eric Adams, Brian Poth and Justin Tindall, among others. We are grateful for your time, support, expertise, and dedication to students and the LGBTQ+ community.
We would like to thank our pro bono partners, Latham & Watkins LLP, especially Amy Quartarolo, Micah Long, Natasha Philips, Steven Schmulenson, T Finneran, Colleen Rico, and Akilah Paul, for their guidance and support throughout the last year and a half. Their support on research, editing, technical support, and many other areas has been essential.
We are also deeply grateful for the partnership of the It Gets Better Project in gathering and sharing stories of excellence in supporting safe and supportive school environments for LGBTQ+ young people. The It Gets Better Project team, led by Executive Director Brian Wenke and Director of Programs Justin Tindall, and with the support of Sean Worley at Education Counsel, took the initiative and dedicated the resources and time to collect the video and written case studies featured in this report. Their creative contributions have made it possible for us to more vividly and fully illustrate what safe and supportive school environments look like and why it is so important to make progress on the issues addressed in this report.