Tompkins County
New York

Report or Discussion Item

Safe Space Training Video


Department:Human Rights DepartmentSponsors:
Category:Diversity and InclusionFunctions:Human Rights

Meeting History

May 15, 2017 4:30 PM  Health and Human Services Committee Regular Meeting

Ms. Baer, Mr. Rusk, and Ms. Simms provided a brief background and documents supporting the Safe Space Training video. Ms. Baer explained Mr. Mareane had requested the Office of Human Right develop a County training video to outline best practices to create a Safe Space in the workplace. The Office of Human Rights has had a long-term and comprehensive commitment to this area of the Human Rights Law.

The short video is intended to provide an introduction to further County training regarding the display of Safe Space signage and any of its variations and its commitment to provide support and understanding for people of all gender identities and sexual orientations. The video provided various definitions and terms involved that may be related to the signage including sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. It also offered some information on the creation of a Safe Space in the workplace and ways to ensure County programs are not discriminatory.

The video is a work in progress and its intent is to provide a brief “teaser” to a more in-depth future training to be provided by the County to its employees.

Ms. Chock inquired as to who has previewed the video. Ms. Baer stated this training module was meant for the purpose of in-house training and allowing County employees to use it as a starting point for further discussions. It was presented at recent Workforce, Development, and Inclusion Committee and Health and Human Services Cabinet meetings. She plans to present this to the Legislature at tomorrow evening’s meeting.

Ms. Chock recommended some font color be changed in a few slides due to them being difficult to read in the current video.

Ms. Chock suggested including examples of various do’s and don’ts be used in a non-threatening manner in concert with additional training. Ms. Baer stated examples are included in the more in-depth training.

Mr. Stein spoke of the need for a more clear understanding of the basic meaning of a Safe Space and asked if all County offices were Safe Spaces. Ms. Baer stated the video is the beginning of a conversation for people to have an understanding behind Safe Space signage. She said the County wants everyone to feel safe in all County spaces but this sign deals directly with members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transsexual, and Queer (LGBTQ) community.

Ms. Kelles questioned if the intent was to have this on the website for access to County employees and eventually the public. Mr. Mareane stated the intent was to have it widely available including on the County Intranet. Departments will be encouraged to have staff watch the video and then schedule further training with the Office of Human Rights. LGBTQ training is a commitment by all County departments. Mr. Mareane said when the Office of Human Rights was asked to do this it was not meant to be a substitution to a full training and believes they did a great job on it.

Ms. Kelles asked if the more extensive training would be of all County employees. Mr. Mareane stated this has not been mandatory and is making its way through the organization now.

Ms. Kelles stated the video is a great initial conversation starter regarding Safe Spaces and she would like to see all Departments talking opening about the subject. She would like to see the training be in an engaged, active learning format.