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Rainbow lanyards help LGBTQ students identify EPISD Allies



(EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT -- Dec. 11, 2019) — EPISD’s Counseling and Advising Department has a new colorful and vibrant way to show they are here to support all students in the District, including those who identify as members of the LGBTQ Community.

The department this week began distributing rainbow lanyards to counselors and other key personnel that have the words “EPISD ALLY” printed on them. The rainbow has long been a symbol of LGBTQ Pride.

“All students are at risk of being bullied, harassed or called names at school, but LGBTQ students can face particularly hostile and challenging school environments,” said Manuel Castruita, EPISD’s director of counseling and advising. “The rainbow lanyards show support for all of our students. It is one way to let students know that you are a safe person to talk to at any time.”

Castruita said national advising core beliefs for professional school counselors state that all students’ ethnic, cultural, racial, sexual orientation and special needs are valued and considered in planning and implementing the school counseling program. 

EPISD’s policy also states that the District will not discriminate in its educational programs or employment practices on the basis of race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, citizenship, military status, disability, genetic information, gender stereotyping and perceived sexuality, or on any other basis prohibited by law.

Castruita said he has seen a positive response to the EPISD Ally lanyards among staff members and students.

“The lanyards are beautiful and they let our students know that we are here for all of them,” he said.

Story by Gustavo Reveles
Photos by Leonel Monroy