In summer 2022, in response to increased attacks on LGBTQ students, an exponential rise in book bans, and targeted racism in schools, ELC launched our Inclusive Schools and Honest Education initiative. We believe that every child deserves an education that prepares them for success, provides a safe place for learning, and honors their history and experiences. Welcoming and inclusive schools that provide honest, accurate information to our children give them the freedom to pursue their dreams and prepare them to fully participate in a diverse society.
Today, there are organized national and local efforts threatening to undermine public schools by inflaming and dividing parents and communities. They are banning books, banning the teaching of accurate history, threatening teachers with lawsuits, and trying to silence the voices of LGBTQ families and people of color. These actions are happening at school boards and in the state legislature.
Parents, students, faith leaders, business leaders, and community members working together can protect our schools, support student learning, and fight against these actions. We must make our voices heard.
When schools fail to welcome and address the needs of all students, they deprive students of the freedom to be who they are and to learn what they need to meet the challenges they will encounter as adults. This harms all our students and all our communities.
Learn more about each of our focus areas:
- Fighting Book Bans
- Supporting & Affirming Gay, Transgender and Non-Binary Students
- Fighting Curriculum Bans and Classroom Censorship
- Legislation (COMING SOON!)
Are you facing any of these challenges in your school district and looking for guidance on next steps? ELC provides materials for parents, students, and community members to use as resources and samples in their advocacy efforts. Access our resources below:
- The School Board: Its Power and How to Advocate
- Your Rights to Oppose Book Bans
- The Rights of LGBTQ, Non-Binary, or Gender-Nonconforming Students
- Promising Practices to Build Antiracist and Affirming Schools
- Check out this recording on The Rights of Transgender and Nonbinary Students under Title IX and the PHRA.
- Advocacy Resources
- We hosted a “Know Your Rights” webinar on race and sex based discrimination in public schools. You can watch the webinar here and download the slides here.
- We partnered with Ed Voters PA and Campaign for Our Shared Future to host a “Know Your Rights” session about school board policies for people interested in supporting welcoming and inclusive schools and fighting back against a wave of proposed discriminatory (and illegal) policies recently advanced by extremist groups in Pennsylvania school districts — Can They Really Do That? Know Your Rights About School Board Policies for Inclusive Schools and Honest Education . This session offered strategies for challenging book bans and censorship of curriculum and classroom discussion and explained the strong legal protections against discrimination and exclusion of LGBTQ students. Watch the webinar here.
ELC provides information, referrals, legal advice, and advocacy to families, youth, caseworkers, attorneys, judges, community members, etc. statewide through its Helpline. We provide this service free of charge.
- Eastern and Central PA — 215-238-6970
- Western PA — 412-258-2120
You will be asked to leave a message identifying your question or issue and a phone number where you can be reached. Someone will respond to the message within 2-3 days to gather additional information.
- To join ELC’s fight for welcoming, inclusive schools and honest education, sign up here.
- To make a financial contribution, donate here.