UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
On November 2, 2010, Dr. Todd A. Savage, an assistant professor in the UWRF school psychology program, participated in a briefing on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) student issues at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC. This briefing was conducted as part of a larger task force on LGBT student issues initiated by Mr. Kevin Jennings, an assistant deputy secretary of education within the U.S. Department of Education and the founder and former executive director of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Dr. Savage represented the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) and the broader profession of school psychology on this panel, which also included a teacher, parent, student, and sexual-minority youth advocate. Each panelist was asked to bring stories from the field and to make specific policy recommendations the task force could consider as it prepares to make recommendations to the federal Congress. Dr. Savage highlighted recent suicides by several LGBT youths in the Twin Cities as well as struggles some local districts are experiencing in crafting, implementing, and enforcing policies intended to protect LGBT students. At the conclusion of the briefing, Mr. Jennings indicated to the panel he believed the session was the tipping point in getting his staff to understand and embrace the importance of including sexual orientation as a protected status in school non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies.