DISD promises quick response to complaints

Posted on 29 Mar 2007 at 8:12pm
By John Wright Staff Writer

School district takes issue of anti-gay discrimination “‘very seriously,’ high-level administrator says

The Dallas Independent School District will take swift action to address any issues involving discrimination against LGBT students or employees, a DISD official told Dallas Voice on Thursday, March 29.

Steve Flores, DISD’s chief administrative officer for school support services, said he was unaware of any problems with discrimination or harassment prior to a recent meeting with the LGBTAQ Educational Coalition.

Members of the coalition, a newly formed citizens committee, requested the meeting because they do not feel a 16-year-old DISD policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation is being properly implemented.

“It was a really good meeting,” Flores said. “We’re not going to sit idly by. I can promise you that. This is an issue that we take very seriously.”

Committee members claim discrimination and harassment against LGBT students and employees is widespread in the district. To address the problem, they want DISD to hire a director of LGBT initiatives and conduct regular staff training on LGBT issues.

Flores said DISD is working to develop action plans in response to the committee’s concerns. He said committee members will make a presentation April 5 to DISD’s six area superintendents, who in turn will begin to work with their principals.

“All 200-plus campuses will be impacted fairly quickly,” Flores said.

Although the district always has conducted training on harassment, Flores said, it may need to be tailored more specifically to LGBT issues.

As for hiring an LGBT director, the district must determine whether it can manage the situation with its current staff, he said.

“If we can do that best with an individual to address those issues, then we need to look at that,” Flores said. “We’re still researching. We’re still looking at that.”

“We want the same thing they want,” he added of committee members. “All students should feel safe at school.”

E-mail wright@dallasvoice.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 30, 2007

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