Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Transformative Education and Social Change

Committee Chairperson

John Elmore, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Curry Malott, Ph.D

Committee Member

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.


While some progress has been made toward the inclusion of previously excluded historically marginalized communities from school curricula, there remains a notable absence of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual+ (LGBTQIA+) community. Specifically, the LGBTQIA+ community is considered controversial to address in schools because anything outside of the heterosexual, cisgender norm conflicts with some people’s religious and political beliefs. Though school administrators may insist that the inclusion of LGBTQIA+ content in schools is in violation of public schools’ duty to remain neutral, the purposeful omission of such is a political act in itself.

This program will emphasize the obligation schools have to provide safety and support for LGBTQIA+ students. Through the implementations of inclusive curricula, clubs such as Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs), and comprehensive bullying policies, schools can actively work to alleviate and even prevent gender- and sexual orientation-based bullying. With fewer instances of bullying and more positive support and representation, LGBTQIA+ students will feel safer, ultimately resulting in higher achievement and fewer instances of suicide. The goal of this program is to garner the support of administrators, community members, and educators alike, so that schools can become places where all students can thrive.