School board member receives award

WEST PALM BEACH — Palm Beach County School Board member Erica Whitfield was honored last month as the 2018 recipient of the Compass Leadership Award. Compass, an organization that promotes awareness for the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community, based in Lake Worth, gives the award to recognize the achievements of elected and appointed officials who display the highest level of commitment and long-established record of leadership in social justice embodied by Compass’ mission.

“Celebrating the diversity of the students in our schools and people of our community is something that is close to my heart,” said Ms. Whitfield. “It is important to me that as a District we show compassion and provide support for our LGBTQ students and staff.”

Photo courtesy of Wanesco Images and Compass
Julie Seaver, executive director of Compass (left), presents the award to School Board member Erica Whitfield (right).

Ms. Whitfield strongly supported the development of District-wide “We’re All In” initiative that provides resources to teachers and District staff who can assist students when they are facing issues with bullying as well as LGBTQ+ students. Through this CDC grant-funded project, those employees who are willing to provide support and guidance to students wear a “We’re All In” multi-colored badge indicating that they are a ‘safe haven’ where students may seek help.

Additionally, the initiative and grant helped create distribute the District’s Critical Support Guide to every school and offices throughout Palm Beach County. The guide serves as a reference to community programs, District policies pertaining to LGBTQ+ students, resources for teachers and staff to better understand the students’ needs and where to guide students for further support.

Ms. Whitfield was celebrated at Compass’s 17th annual Stonewall Ball at the Harriet Himmel Theatre. Ms. Whitfield has served as the School Board member for District 4 since 2014.

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