“Every student deserves to learn and grow in a school environment that is welcoming, supportive, and safe.” – Tony Hoang, Executive Director, Equality California Institute

The It Gets Better Project couldn’t agree more, which is why we partnered with Equality California on its 2022 Safe & Supportive Schools Report Card, a tool that collects and publishes district-level efforts to implement policies that contribute to school safety and prioritize the well-being of LGBTQ+ students.

Storytelling is at the core of what we do at the It Gets Better Project. So while Equality California did the heavy lifting of collecting the self-reported responses of 118 school districts throughout the state of California, we got to shine a light on seven school districts that are doing particularly incredible work.

Like Moreno Valley, where teachers at Vista Del Lago High School “have a Pride flag in their classroom or display a Safe Space triangle reassuring students that they are someone that can be trusted,” according to Activities Director Johnny Muñoz. Or in Vista Unified, where there has been negativity and pushback around trans students and bathroom use, but district social worker Maria Al-Shamma uses it as “a teachable moment.”

“I always let the group know I’m not here to change anyone’s values or beliefs. I’m here to ensure that as educators, we create a climate and a culture that’s welcoming, affirming, and accepting for our LGBTQ+ children.”

The It Gets Better Project helped facilitate interviews with students, teachers and faculty members in five exceptional school districts for stories featured in the report card. Additionally, we created videos for two additional school districts, capturing the amazing work happening to better things for LGBTQ+ students in Oakland Unified School District and San Diego Unified School District.

Watch the videos below and read through the full report here. And thank you to Equality California for your tireless work to make things better for LGBTQ+ students.