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Things to consider when discussing an IEP or 504 Plan for an LBGTQ+ Student

  • "LGBTQ" is not a noun.  LGBTQ is not a disorder or a disability qualifying a student for special education and related services. However, the anxiety and depression suffered from the stress of repeatedly being targeted at school or not being accepted, all because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, can entitle a student to services and accommodations if it negatively impacts a student's learning. Gender Dysphoria (a recognized clinical diagnosis under the DSM-5) could also qualify a student for special education eligibility under federal and state law. 


  • The Number 1 issue on LBGTQ+ teens' minds is whether they will be accepted by their families, followed by issues surrounding bullying and harassment. This, when compared with non-LGBTQ+ teens' concerns about school work and career preparation (not to demean these concerns), help to underscore why LBGTQ+ students have a higher rate of attempted suicide and suicide.


  • Statistically, LGBTQ+ students experience more violence, more bullying, more cyberbullying, and more harassment than non-LGBTQ+ students.


  • A high percentage of LGBTQ+ students have reported feeling unsafe in their schools at least once. Some of those students have reported not wanting to go to school or having missed school because they didn't feel safe.


  • In creating IEPs or 504s for LGBTQ+ students - Transgender specifically - privacy and FERPA become very important. School Districts are required to maintain complete and accurate medical records, academic records, identification records, etc. for each student. For a transgender student, this could be catastrophic if not carefully addressed with all staff and teachers accessing that student's file. Imagine if a teacher called out the biological name of a transgender student. This has become a privacy issue - one that could have been addressed in an IEP or 504 accommodation. School files often contain photo IDs, which would also be problematic for Transgender students if even one other student saw it. 

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