Westridge Middle School hosting community education event ‘LGBTQ and You’

The Shawnee Mission School District is hosting a community educational event entitled “LGBTQ and You” at Westridge Middle School. The panelists will discuss ways educators and the community can support LGBTQ youth.

As part of its quarterly educational series, the Shawnee Mission School District is hosting a community event later this month to discuss issues relating to support of LGBTQ youth.

LGBTQ and You will feature a panel of experts and advocates speaking on this topic as well as a moderated question-and-answer session. The event takes place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22 at Westridge Middle School, 9300 Nieman Road, in Overland Park.

“Our goal is to provide knowledge of resources in the community as well as information on how to be a supportive ally as well as ways to positively parent LGBTQ youth,” said Tracie Chauvin, a social worker for the school district who is coordinating the program. “So we want to provide not only information and resources but also usable tools and strategies. Our ultimate goal is connecting our panelists with our community, be it staff members, teachers, parents.”

Chauvin said that in her work for the district, she continues hears from parents and staff members asking for resources and knowledge on a variety of issues, from LGBTQ youth support to diversity to cultural competency, as well as mental wellness, suicide prevention and awareness, and substance use.

“We’ve really taken what parents, staff and community members said they wanted and tried to meet that need as best as possible given the resources we have,” Chauvin said.

Due to the “sensitive nature and candid level of conversation” that will take place at the event, Chauvin said the event is most appropriate for teens and older.

A Spanish translator will be on site as well as free childcare services. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP is requested via an online registration form.