The Pride Report

Peacock Leads the Way with Diversity Training for Teachers

Last week, teachers at Peacock Collegiate Institute became the first in Moose Jaw to receive structured training on how to support LGBT+ students in their school.

Dustin Swanson, Peacock’s Principal, said the training session was an important step for the school in honouring the diversity of the student population:

“I think we recognize that we have students in our school who we need to do a better job in supporting. And we’re often unsure exactly how we can support them best and in a way that’s consistent with what we need to do as a school.”

Carrie Kiefer, who teaches Social Studies & Law to Grade 12 students said she appreciated the tools Moose Jaw Pride’s training session offered to staff:

“I really liked the fact that it provided guidance as to what teachers should do, shouldn’t do, terms you should use, terms you shouldn’t use and how you can best support students.”

Swanson said the training helped staff members find answers to their questions, see a new perspective and work towards building a more welcoming learning environment:

“We want to be open and supportive and we want this to be a wonderful community. That starts by the supporting the people who are here and knowing who we have here.”

While most schools seek to create safe spaces for all students, Swanson suggested that gender and sexual diversity is an issue that can be challenging for staff and needs to be addressed directly with information and training:

“There could be conflict created when you’re dealing with an issue that not everyone sees in an open way. You have to be willing to take a bit of a stand, admit that you don’t have all the answers and seek out the information that you need.”

Over the last two years, Swanson said students have been adamant about having a GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) at Peacock and that diversity training was a clear next step.

Kiefer was also one of a handful of teachers from Peacock and Central schools who supported the development of Prairie South School Division’s first Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) last year. She said that the GSA has created more awareness among the student body while promoting equality and human rights:

“It creates a culture of acceptance at the school and gives the kids a place to belong.”

For teachers and other school staff who are thinking about diversity training, Swanson said that it is important for anyone serving the community to educate themselves on LGBT+ issues:

“You owe it to yourself as a professional and as a community leader to get that information so that you know what you need to do.”

Swanson said that it was essential for staff to receive training on gender & sexual diversity in the same way that staff needed to learn about other forms of diversity that might be unfamiliar to them:

“That’s just being a good human, to be honest.”

For more information about how to book diversity training for your school, business or organization, please visit www.moosejawpride.ca/training or email info@moosejawpride.ca

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.