School District Puts LGBT Badges On Teachers

The Norristown Area School District (NASD) in Pennsylvania has collaborated with the National Education Association’s (NEA) LGBTQ caucus to introduce the “I’m Here” campaign. The campaign enables educators to wear badges with the pride flag as a symbol of their support for gay students and to provide them with resources. The badges have a QR code that students can scan, which redirects them to the NEA LGBTQ caucus website where they can access resources on sexual education and coming out. 

Christopher Dormer, the NASD superintendent, encourages all staff to wear the badges voluntarily to demonstrate their support for LGBTQIA+ students, staff, and others. The NEA LGBTQ caucus offers resources on creating a Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) club within the school. However, the National GSA Network’s assertion that capitalism engenders systemic power that oppresses the LGBTQ community has been previously scrutinized.

Lee Speers, President of the Education Association of Norristown Area, expressed that wearing the badge is a straightforward and effective means of communicating with students that educators are supportive and non-judgmental towards them. Additionally, it indicates that they accept students for who they are and are approachable for discussions.

The “I’m Here” initiative has faced opposition from certain parents who disapprove of it. In Columbus, Ohio, Hilliard City Schools allowed teachers to wear “I’m Here” badges issued by their local union chapter affiliated with the NEA, resulting in a lawsuit filed by some parents in January 2023 to prohibit teachers from wearing the badges. Nonetheless, NASD and EANA continue to be "forward-thinking" in their efforts to ensure students' safety, as stated by Alan Malachowski, President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association Mideast region.

To sum up, the initiative is an outstanding approach to bolster LGBTQIA+ students and equip them with the necessary resources. By donning the "I'm Here" badge, teachers can demonstrate that they are trustworthy individuals who are invested in their students' welfare. It is crucial for educational institutions to recognize how essential it is for children to feel secure and supported, particularly in the context of their education. While the lawsuit in Ohio's outcome is uncertain, NASD should take pride in their endeavors, despite encountering opposition from certain parents.


Written by Staff Reports

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