SALEP program, transgender students, fear, safer spaces, professional development
Garrett: So SALEP is our fourteen to sixteen-year-olds. Underage students. I taught in SALEP for six years before moving over to alternative.
Garrett: So those are all disengaged students whose social workers have referred them because of poor attendance. Um, there, obviously, parents, by law, are a part of those conversations as well. And our SALEP program right now has – fifty percent of them are trans identified.
Tara: The kids are? The students are?
Tara: Right. What do you think it is about being a trans student in school that creates the necessity to come to a specialized program because the schools aren’t serving you well?
Garrett: They are just fearful, right? The fear is there the, the… even with, you know, all of the training and safe spaces and washrooms and that sort of thing, we’re finding their needs are still not being met
Tara: So what are some of the things that you have done deliberately to make, um, this space and the other space, um, welcoming to queer kids in general and to trans kids in particular?
Garrett: Sure. Um, one: our staff are trained.
Tara: And what’s involved in that training? What do they know?
Garrett: They understand the power wheel. They’ve done the power wheel themselves. They know all of the terminology, and we refresh all the time. So, I do the workshops every beginning of every school year as we have new teachers coming in as well on the terminology, the identifications, what they mean, what is a safe space? Um, so that’s refreshed on an ongoing basis. I also report every staff meeting through special programs on inclusive education. So there’s refreshers every single staff meeting. Actually about ten to fifteen minutes of every meeting is just about meeting the needs of our students.