Doug Robinson, New York, 1996
Born March 26, 1951
School Board, District 2
New York, New York
21,000 children in District 2
Elected May 1996
Interview with Doug Robinson for Out and Elected in the USA
Q: You are not planning to run for the School Board again. Why not?
A: It’s tough in a time where school boards are being bashed left and right and where the state legislature took away most of our powers, although in the rest of the state the school boards have much more power in terms of controlling budget and those kinds of things. We’re basically an advisory board and we do liaison work with the schools now – so the meat and guts of it have been taken away, except we do appoint the superintendent. So it’s tough.
Q: With a few years yet for you to go, do you feel that it is all time well spent?
A: Well, I’ve certainly tried to make the best out of it. I’ve tried to help people – and concerning gay families, I’ve pushed for policies that support les-bi-gay kids and les-bi-gay families, and that’s been very good. By example, I have gotten more teachers to come out – even our former superintendent was a lesbian and she was pretty much closeted, but I think we helped her to come out a little bit more. She was not willing to come out publicly as a lesbian, but she is a lot more open and she was very supportive of us getting things done for kids. We have a Project 10 program in our district and we are the only one in our state to have it, although a couple of districts are now following suit. We have gotten teachers and principals to be trained around les-bi-gay issues and we want to continue that. We were the first district in the city and, think in the state if I’m not mistaken, to have in our sexual harassment policy include a section about les-bi-gay children. So, those things have been rewarding. You know, you are up there, you’re looking at policy, because that’s what we do.