No Sanctuary

Teachers and the School Reform That Brought Gay Rights to the Masses

Stephen Lane

School can be a special sort of nightmare for LGBTQ youth, who are sometimes targets of verbal or physical harassment with nowhere to turn for support. No Sanctuary tells the inspiring story of a mostly unseen rescue attempt by a small group of teachers who led the push to make schools safer for these at-risk students. Their efforts became the blueprint for Massachusetts’s education policy and a nationwide movement, resulting in one of the most successful and far-reaching school reform efforts in recent times. Stephen Lane sheds light on this largely overlooked but critical series of reforms, placing the Safe Schools movement within the context of the larger gay rights movement and highlighting its key role in fostering greater acceptance of LGBTQ individuals throughout society.

Cover Image of No Sanctuary: Teachers and the School Reform That Brought Gay Rights to the Masses
Paper: $24.95 | E-book: $22.99
ISBN-13: 9781512603149
Pages: 240 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: September 12, 2018


  • Stephen Lane’s No Sanctuary is a splendid, detailed account of how LGBTQ and progressive teachers, along with students, organized and fought to defend the rights and safety of LGBTQ students. The historical sweep of No Sanctuary is splendid-a century-long historical overview of sex panics, educational theory, sexology, attitudes about youth, and gender myths-and its accounts of on-the-ground organizing in schools across the nation are thrilling and inspiring. Imperative reading for teachers, students, activists, and political theorists, No Sanctuary is as vitally important as it is groundbreaking.

    Michael Bronski
    author of A Queer History of the United States
  • Few books on school reform capture how a bottom-up policy change progresses in bite-sized increments in a political arena to achieve safety and equity for both teachers and students. No Sanctuary does exactly that.

    Larry Cuban
    professor emeritus of education, Stanford University
  • A timely counter-narrative to top-down school reform efforts, [No Sanctuary] illustrates how students and teachers can use their voice and leadership to personalize and frame an issue, educate administrators and those in power, and ultimately effect policy, cultural and large-scale change, not only in schools, but also in society.

    Wendy Kopp
    CEO and Co-Founder, Teach For All and Founder, Teach For America

About the Author

STEPHEN LANE is a high school teacher. He lives in Concord, Massachusetts, with his wife and son.

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