When Faced With a $100M Deficit, Does Protecting LGBT Students Simply Cost Too Much?

We all know school districts across the nation are facing budget shortfalls for their property tax-funded curriculums. So when an budget item comes up worth $120,000, the question begs: Do you hire two new teachers, or institute a support program for LGBT students? San Francisco is about to decide just that.

Tomorrow night the school board will vote on the “controversial” measure, which would budget money to hire a full-time staffer, at about $90,000 a year, “manage LGBT youth issues in the district’s Student Support Services Department.” In addition, the new program would also, at a cost of $30,000 a year, track harassment complaints and distribute to parents “an educational packet … encouraging them to discuss ‘the issues of sexuality, gender identity and safety’ with their children,” relays the San Francisco Chronicle.

Why is such a resolution being considered? Because the current program, which provides a website and student lessons on sexual orientation, is funded by outside grants, which could dry up at any point. The only way to guarantee a permanent program is to self-fund it.

But the interests of LGBT students butts up against fiscal responsibility: With a $113 million (!) budget shortfall, is increasing spending the way to keep things afloat?

A vote against the bill is a vote against the safety and concern for LGBT students; a vote for the bill is a vote for spending money the district doesn’t have. There’s no perfect answer.

But then you hear about schools where even the teachers are engaged in bullying students based on their gender expression, and you realize kids aren’t just suffering from isolated incidents of harassment, but institutionally approved torment. And ridding that ill might be worthy any cost.

UPDATE 2/10: The school board voted unanimously to approve the program.

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  • B Damion

    This is a complete waste of time and tax payers money. Kids go to school to learn and that should be the focus. Better education for all children. If anything just teach the child thats being harassed..to kick some ass n defend themselves. I wish I had someone to teach me how to fight then..I wish a motha-f’er would dam it…lol..lol…I know that violence is never the answer. But at some point in life we all have to fight for something right?

    I mean seriously kids have to learn social skills in order to deal with all the crazy issues of life. This is not a good idea at all. I’m a gay man and I don’t approve.

  • beergoggles

    @B Damion: Exactly, we should just give the bullied kid a gun and tell him to defend himself.

    In case you’re too stupid to get it (based on your post), the above statements sole purpose was to make fun of you.

  • DillonS

    I disagree both with this proposal and with B Damion. Throwing money at a problem never works, but saying that all you need is to teach a kid to fight back is also not part of the solution (especially if the kid expected to fight back isn’t as big, or as strong, or as aggressive).

    Bullying, regardless of sexual orientation, needs to be better addressed in schools. It doesn’t take an extra teacher or two to deal with it … it takes the whole of the school to be willing to confront the bully and take action. Teachers KNOW who the aggressors are; they just refuse to act.

    And no, suspending the bully isn’t the option. They need to be held accountable for their actions and shown a better way. It takes work, but it can be done.

  • dizzy spins

    This is for the SF school system, which probably is the safest evironment for LGBT kids. As said above, throwing money at a situation is not the answer. Teachers can hold discussions on tolerance and acceptance without spending a dime.

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