Over 80 faculty and staff learned how to be better allies to the LGBTQ community members at safe space training meetings held by Coordinator of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and science teacher Nate Cardin.
Cardin said his goal for the training sessions was to give faculty and staff more information on how to be stronger, more identifiable allies to those in the LGBTQ community.
He highlighted obstacles students face on campus and encouraged adults on campus to reach out to them.
“I covered concepts like gender and sexual orientation, went through each of the letters in the LGBTQIA+ acronym, talked about challenges facing the queer community nationally and at HW, and explained why it would make such a difference for our faculty and staff to be more outwardly supportive,” Cardin said.
Director of DEI Janine Jones said that faculty and staff learned how to let students know that they are there for them and how to best support them.
“He spoke very directly about how to be an ally and encouraged faculty and staff to not only let students who identify as LGBTQ+ know that particular faculty member is an ally for them, but also once they let them know, he told them how they can be the best ally,” Jones said.
Cardin said he was pleased with the high turnout of the events.
“Even though I’m still relatively young, queer people of my generation couldn’t have imagined having teachers at their school who were supportive of LGBTQIA+ kids,” he said. “Things have changed so much in the past fifteen years or so and I’m really encouraged at the progress that’s being made.”
The workshops were held on Sept. 26 and Sept. 28 at the Middle School and Upper School, respectively.
Last year’s DEI Climate Assessment revealed teachers wanted more professional development in DEI, and Jones said these workshops were a part of an initiative to better train faculty in this regard.
Cardin said that more DEI workshops for teachers are to come following the success of this one.
In the meantime, Jones said that she is always willing to speak with any member of the community.
“I just want to reiterate to students, faculty and staff that my door is always open,” she said. “The whole point of this work is that I can be an advocate to the extent possible and always be an ear, so there is a space where student and faculty can come.”