Letter: Schools need to assist transgender youth

Santo Barbagiovanni, director of Center Lane, Westchester Jewish Community Services, comments on “Report: Transgender students too often harassed, bullied,” June 30 article.

As the director of Westchester Jewish Community Services’ Center Lane, the only LGBTQ youth and community education center in Westchester, I have worked with students who are victims of harassment and bullying based on their sexual and/or gender identity.

While Port Chester High School is a testament to the important progress of some schools in Westchester, our experience has shown that inclusion and acceptance of transgender youth among their peers and school staff is not typical in many districts. This is due in large part to the lack of education provided to teachers and school administrators about the specific issues faced by transgender youth.

WJCS’ Center Lane provides teachers and other professionals with cultural sensitivity and competency training that gives them a basic understanding of LGBTQ youth. It offers customized training such as LGBTQ 101 throughout Westchester and Center Lane experts offer specific training that addresses the needs of transgender youth.

WJCS’ Center Lane, established 20 years ago, is an important local resource for schools and youth-serving agencies seeking to foster more inclusive environments for transgender and LGBTQ youth.

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