The Human Rights Campaign's LGBTQ & DEI 'Welcoming Schools' Program Is Gaining Momentum In Public Schools
Protecting our children is a 24/7 job, and we can no longer trust that our children are not being exposed to such material. Do not be complacent.
While researching the Human Rights Campaign, I ran across something I’ve never heard of and something I don’t recall ever hearing anyone mention, Welcoming Schools. Welcoming Schools, according to their official website, was originally the idea of Pam Garramone of the Greater Boston PFLAG, who in 2004 gathered “a group of community members, including an elementary school principal, a social worker, educators, LGBTQ+ parents, safe schools trainers, and a social-emotional program consultant, to examine how LGBTQ+ topics affected elementary students.”
Using the same dark blue and yellow imagery that the HRC is known for, the Welcoming Schools logo is a yellow school bus, on a dark blue background with the progress pride flag colors aligning the front of the bus as if to illustrate a road leading into the future.
Their site states “Students of color and LGBTQ students are more likely to be disciplined than their white, non-LGBTQ peers. Students with intersectional identities, such as Black transgender youth or gay undocumented youth, are at an even greater risk.” This statement is backed up by different surveys, the newest of which is from 2014. In other words, old studies.
In 2005, the HRC became the HRC Foundation. This foundation focused primarily on “a public education and outreach component to increase understanding of LGBTQ+ people and the importance of LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and practices.”
“Ellen Kahn, while working to build the HRC Foundation’s Children, Youth, and Families program, was eager to develop a program to help elementary schools support children with LGBTQ+ parents. Ellen organized a meeting of experts from across the country, including Kathy Pillsbury, who was part of the Boston group leading Welcoming Schools. It quickly became clear that Welcoming Schools would be a perfect addition to the program. In 2006, the volunteers who developed Welcoming Schools transferred ownership from Greater Boston PFLAG and GLSEN Boston to the HRC Foundation,” their website states.
Twelve schools were chosen to pilot the Welcoming Schools program in 2008, which later expanded to offering books, and lesson plans on their website in 2010, free of cost.
ABC 7 NEWS- WJLA ran a story in 2013 about one Washington D.C. elementary school, Cleveland Elementary, where the Welcoming School’s 12-minute documentary premiered. What’s interesting about this news clip is the focus on bullying. Not one mention of inclusivity of any kind, and certainly not a word about LGBTQ students.
During the HRC’s Welcoming Schools Presents at Time to THRIVE held in 2016, speakers used terms such as “extremists” and “twisted” to describe the pushback they received from those who opposed their children being taught the Welcoming Schools program. This ended up being more of a marketing campaign for indoctrination as each speaker discussed how crucial it was to have the book “I Am Jazz” read in schools and public libraries to children of all ages. The co-author of the book also took a moment to explain how she used her children, the youngest being 4 years old to expose them to the idea of transgenderism. Her experiment was to see if a book about Jazz Jennings’ transition would be well received by a child that young. At the end of the discussion, they wheel out Jazz Jennings to thank everyone for signing up for an opportunity to read “I Am Jazz” in their classrooms. Jennings spoke for less than two minutes, thanking the crowd before walking offstage.
In 2019, a legal battle ensued between the Park City School District and an organization called Stop Welcoming Schools that claimed the program was “an LGBTQ indoctrination program and sex education program” for kids as young as 4.” The district rejected the claim as well as the cease and desist issued by Stop Welcoming Schools demanding the district remove all books, posters, and Welcoming Schools materials from Utah’s Trailside Elementary School specifically. Representatives from the Welcoming Schools held a meeting at a local coffee shop to discuss the pushback they were receiving and to “debunk myths” surrounding the program itself. At this meeting, a woman named Stephanie stated that this is an anti-bullying program, not a curriculum, and that it’s important to make the distinction. She also stated that these “differences” aren’t just for kids who are part of the LGBTQ community, but also included kids with ADHD, or “if you’re tall”.
The speaker then goes on to describe a second-grade student who she says identifies as a boy, “whether you agree with that or not it doesn’t matter, the fact is she identifies as a boy and wants to be called by a boy’s name.” I think Stephanie just misgendered the six-year-old child. Isn’t that how this game is played? Burn her at the stake! Just kidding.
One audience member at the Park City coffee shop meeting, Allison Cook, told a story about how her gay, conservative son had been bullied at a different school along with numerous other students who also happened to be conservative. She made the point that if her son were to dress flamboyantly at school he would be “affirmed” and celebrated, but when he wore his “Gays for Trump” shirt he was relentlessly attacked. The mother noted during the Welcoming Schools speech not one word was mentioned about freedom of speech and asked how they could assure that these anti-bullying guidelines would be applied equally. The crowd applauded, to which moderator Mary Christa Smith, Summit County’s “Communities That Care” Coordinator, immediately shut down by saying clapping at some remarks while not clapping at others “becomes this weird space that cannot feel safe.”
Melanie Smith, another Welcoming Schools rep doesn’t answer her concerns. She not only deflects but outright says they can’t guarantee all kids will be safe because “that’s not what this program is.” The video abruptly cuts right when the mother presses back about the ideology behind those the Welcoming Schools claims to be protecting, clearly removing a section of the conversation they didn’t want to be aired and picks back up with Christa Smith, who reminded everyone to be respectful.
During the pandemic, the HRC posted images of how teachers could use bitmojis with inclusive backgrounds for their virtual teaching so that students felt more “seen.” These backgrounds include BLM posters in some, suicide prevention images, safe spaces, and always the rainbow, or trans flag. Ashton Mota, then-high school student and HRC Youth Ambassador said, “Throughout my life, I’ve struggled to focus in class whenever I felt unsafe or invisible. As a Black Dominican-American transgender teen, learning in an online environment that is visibly welcoming and validating has greatly improved my ability to focus during class time. I wish all educators would create an inclusive virtual background to help all students feel affirmed and supported in their online classrooms.”
HRC’s Welcoming Schools makes the claim, “Our program uses an intersectional, anti-racist lens dedicated to actionable policies and practices. We uplift school communities with critical tools to embrace family diversity, create LGBTQ+ and gender-inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students.”
They also proudly boast, “125,000 educators in 43 States and Canada have participated in the Welcoming Schools Professional Development Program to gain critical skills for creating LGBTQ+ and gender inclusive schools where all families and students are welcomed and can thrive. Over the past 4 years, these educators have impacted over 10.5 million students.”
The Welcoming Schools website is a plethora of tools and advice for school faculty members, as well as parents and students on how to make schools more inclusive. This includes “A Parent’s Quick Guide For In-School Transitions,” which concludes by saying, “Communicating with the school in a manner that is strong, yet collaborative can help build alliances and promote a school environment that is safe and supportive for all gender non-conforming students.”
They also note that “Affirming your transgender or non-binary student can seem overwhelming but it is critical and often, life-saving.” So, not only do they use the term “affirm,” which loosely means agree to the delusion, but they also throw in the threat of suicide at the end. Seems like a veiled threat, at best. The Welcoming Schools program reiterates the fact that all materials and learning guides are free of charge to schools and educators.
Welcoming Schools also has a Seal of Excellence to strive toward if you’re interested in indoctrinating your children with sexual perversions. “Schools that prove themselves to be exemplary in implementing the HRC Welcoming Schools approach can earn the Seal of Excellence by completing the required benchmarks.” These benchmarks include the implementation of policies and procedures on a local, district, or state level, planned lessons or activities, bulletin boards and newsletters, family nights, and of course books and other resources which are downloadable on their website here.
Students are no longer being judged on merits or academic achievements, but rather on inclusivity and allyship for a community that makes up such a minute percentage of the population. To think that elementary school children understand these complex and confusing ideas of gender, let alone sexuality is insane.
Our children should not be exposed to adult themes and sexual preferences. Some of these children are too young to write their names or tie their shoes. They do not have the cognitive ability to understand such concepts and look to adults to guide them. These adults, especially teachers should be protecting their innocence, not exposing them to sexuality and sexual depravity.
Parents with children in the school system must remain vigilant and closely monitor their child’s schools and curriculum. Attend Board of Education meetings, visit the school library, and ask questions. Find out if the schools that your children attend are distributing this information in the classroom or within the school itself. Protecting our children is a 24/7 job, and we can no longer trust that our children are not being exposed to such material. Do not be complacent.